Comparative toxicity of preservatives on immortalized corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells

Seth P. Epstein, Michael Ahdoot, Edward Marcus, Penny Asbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Nearly all eye drops contain preservatives to decrease contamination. Nonpreservatives such as disodium-ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (EDTA) and phosphate-buffered saline are also regularly added as buffering agents. These components can add to the toxicity of eye drops and cause ocular surface disease. To evaluate the potential toxicity of these common components and their comparative effects on the ocular surface, a tissue culture model utilizing immortalized corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells was utilized. Methods: Immortalized human conjunctival and corneal epithelial cells were grown. At confluency, medium was replaced with 100 μL of varying concentrations of preservatives: benzalkonium chloride (BAK), methyl paraben (MP), sodium perborate (SP), chlorobutanol (Cbl), and stabilized thimerosal (Thi); varying concentrations of buffer: EDTA; media (viable control); and formalin (dead control). After 1 h, solutions were replaced with 150 μL of MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazonium bromide). After 4 h, solutions decanted, 100 μL of acid isopropanol added, and the optical density determined at 572 nm to evaluate cell viability. Results: Conjunctival and corneal cell toxicity was seen with all preservatives. Depending upon concentration, BAK exhibited from 56% to 89% toxicity. In comparison, Cbl exhibited from 50% to 86%, MP from 30% to 76%, SP from 23% to 59%, and Thi from 70% to 95%. EDTA with minimal toxicity (from 6% to 59%) was indistinguishable from SP. Conclusions: Generally, the order of decreasing toxicity at the most commonly used concentrations: Thi (0.0025%) > BAK (0.025%) > Cbl (0.25%) > MP (0.01%) > SP (0.0025%) ≈ EDTA (0.01%). Even at low concentration, these agents will cause some degree of ocular tissue damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

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sodium perborate
Chlorobutanol
Diamines
Parabens
Thimerosal
Benzalkonium Compounds
Acetates
Epithelial Cells
Ophthalmic Solutions
2-Propanol
Eye Diseases
Bromides
Formaldehyde
Cell Survival
Buffers
Phosphates
Acids
ethylene

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

Comparative toxicity of preservatives on immortalized corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. / Epstein, Seth P.; Ahdoot, Michael; Marcus, Edward; Asbell, Penny.

In: Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Vol. 25, No. 2, 01.04.2009, p. 113-119.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Purpose: Nearly all eye drops contain preservatives to decrease contamination. Nonpreservatives such as disodium-ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (EDTA) and phosphate-buffered saline are also regularly added as buffering agents. These components can add to the toxicity of eye drops and cause ocular surface disease. To evaluate the potential toxicity of these common components and their comparative effects on the ocular surface, a tissue culture model utilizing immortalized corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells was utilized. Methods: Immortalized human conjunctival and corneal epithelial cells were grown. At confluency, medium was replaced with 100 μL of varying concentrations of preservatives: benzalkonium chloride (BAK), methyl paraben (MP), sodium perborate (SP), chlorobutanol (Cbl), and stabilized thimerosal (Thi); varying concentrations of buffer: EDTA; media (viable control); and formalin (dead control). After 1 h, solutions were replaced with 150 μL of MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazonium bromide). After 4 h, solutions decanted, 100 μL of acid isopropanol added, and the optical density determined at 572 nm to evaluate cell viability. Results: Conjunctival and corneal cell toxicity was seen with all preservatives. Depending upon concentration, BAK exhibited from 56{\%} to 89{\%} toxicity. In comparison, Cbl exhibited from 50{\%} to 86{\%}, MP from 30{\%} to 76{\%}, SP from 23{\%} to 59{\%}, and Thi from 70{\%} to 95{\%}. EDTA with minimal toxicity (from 6{\%} to 59{\%}) was indistinguishable from SP. Conclusions: Generally, the order of decreasing toxicity at the most commonly used concentrations: Thi (0.0025{\%}) > BAK (0.025{\%}) > Cbl (0.25{\%}) > MP (0.01{\%}) > SP (0.0025{\%}) ≈ EDTA (0.01{\%}). Even at low concentration, these agents will cause some degree of ocular tissue damage.",
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