Mitochondria-Targeted Antioxidant SkQ1 Prevents Anesthesia-Induced Dry Eye Syndrome

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:9281519. doi: 10.1155/2017/9281519. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an age-related condition increasingly detected in younger people of risk groups, including patients who underwent ocular surgery or long-term general anesthesia. Being a multifactorial disease, it is characterized by oxidative stress in the cornea and commonly complicated by ocular surface inflammation. Polyetiologic DES is responsive to SkQ1, a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant suppressing age-related changes in the ocular tissues. Here, we demonstrate safety and efficacy of topical administration of SkQ1 at a dosage of 7.5 μM for the prevention of general anesthesia-induced DES in rabbits. The protective action of SkQ1 improves clinical state of the ocular surface by inhibiting apoptotic and prenecrotic changes in the corneal epithelium. The underlying mechanism involves the suppression of the oxidative stress supported by the stimulation of intrinsic antioxidant activity and the activity of antioxidant enzymes, foremost glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase, in the cornea. Furthermore, SkQ1 increases antioxidant activity and stability of the tear film and produces anti-inflammatory effect exhibited as downregulation of TNF-α and IL-6 and pronounced upregulation of IL-10 in tears. Our data suggest novel features of SkQ1 and point to its feasibility in patients with DES and individuals at risk for the disease including those subjected to general anesthesia.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / adverse effects*
  • Antioxidants
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / drug therapy
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Plastoquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Plastoquinone / pharmacology
  • Plastoquinone / therapeutic use


  • 10-(6'-plastoquinonyl)decyltriphenylphosphonium
  • Antioxidants
  • Plastoquinone