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December 1994

Treatment of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in Rabbits With 3-Isobutyl-1-Methylxanthine

Author Affiliations

From the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. Dr Gilbard and Darlene A. Dartt, PhD, the inventors, and the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, Mass, the assignee, have a proprietary interest in the technology discussed in this report.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;112(12):1614-1616. doi:10.1001/archopht.1994.01090240120036

Objective:  To examine the effects of topical 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine treatment on tear-film osmolarity, conjunctival goblet-cell densities, and corneal epithelial glycogen levels in a rabbit model for keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Methods:  Keratoconjunctivitis sicca was surgically induced in the right eyes of 16 rabbits. In a masked protocol, eight of these operated-on eyes underwent treatment for 12 weeks with a 3.0-mmol solution of 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. The remaining eight operated-on eyes were left untreated and served as controls.

Results:  The 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine treatment resulted in a rapid and significant decrease in tear osmolarity and sodium (P<.5) and potassium levels (P<.05) and a significant increase in conjunctival goblet-cell densities and corneal epithelial glycogen levels compared with untreated and operated-on controls (P<.001).

Conclusions:  3-Isobutyl-1-methylxanthine rapidly and significantly decreased tear-film osmolarity in this rabbit model for keratoconjunctivitis sicca and restored conjunctival goblet-cell densities and corneal glycogen levels, thus reversing the disease process.

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