Strain-related cytokine profiles on the murine ocular surface in response to desiccating stress

Cornea. 2007 Jun;26(5):579-84. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318033a729.


Purpose: To evaluate the effects of desiccating ocular surface stress on levels of inflammatory cytokines in the corneal epithelium, conjunctiva, and tear fluid of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice.

Methods: Experimental dry eye (EDE) was created in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice by cholinergic blockade and exposure to a desiccating environment. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed to measure levels of cytokine transcripts. A multiplex immunobead assay was used to measure concentrations of these cytokines in tears.

Results: Experimental dryness significantly increased the expression of interleukin (IL)-1alpha, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha transcripts in the corneal epithelium and conjunctiva of C57BL/6 mice. Strain-specific changes in tear cytokine profiles were observed. C57BL/6 mice had significantly greater tear concentrations of IL-1alpha and TNF-alpha and the Th-1 cytokines IL-2, IL-12, and interferon-gamma in response to desiccating stress than BALB/c mice. The Th-2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 were significantly greater in BALB/c tears.

Conclusions: This study indicates that desiccating stress increases levels of certain cytokines in the corneal epithelium and conjunctiva in a strain-dependent fashion and that C57BL/6 mice had greater levels of Th-1 cytokines in their tears, whereas BALB/c mice had a greater increase in Th-2 cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Desiccation
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Epithelium, Corneal / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Species Specificity
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tears / metabolism*


  • Cytokines