Recently, Yao Ke, professor of ophthalmology center of the Second Hospital affiliated with Zhejiang University Medical College, Fu Qiuli, researcher Fu Qiuli, and Chen Zhijian of the Zhejiang Center for Disease Control and Prevention made a breakthrough in the field of the pathogenesis of haze-related eye disease, and the relevant research papers were published in Eye Table. This is another achievement after the team published three series of papers on smog-related eye-to-eye disease in the high-impact journal Environmental Pollution in the field of environmental science.
When air pollution is serious, the incidence of eye diseases such as dry eyes increases significantly.
Dry eye is the most common eye disease in ophthalmology clinic, the incidence rate is as high as 21%-30%, its clinical symptoms mainly include eye fatigue, dryness, pain, tears, foreign body sensation, burning feeling, etc. , to people’s daily life has brought many troubles and inconveniences. In recent years, the incidence of dry eye in China is increasing year by year, and show a certain seasonality, that is, autumn and winter is higher than spring and summer, what is the culprit behind this? Eye watch as the first barrier of eyeballs, direct contact with the outside world, very vulnerable to the damage of atmospheric pollutants, and autumn and winter is often a high incidence of haze season, so there is a correlation between the two?
In order to answer this question, Zhejiang Second Eye Center since 2015 with the Zhejiang CDC carried out a series of clinical big data research, found that air pollution and dry eye, conjunctivitis and other eye diseases are indeed closely related. This is the first global correlation between each patient with eye disease and the state of atmospheric pollution exposed. The results showed that the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) with a particle size of 2.5 sm was closely related to the incidence of dry eye and conjunctivitis, and the correlation with dry eye was particularly significant in autumn and winter, thus confirming that haze was one of the causes of high incidence of eye surface diseases such as dry eyes.
Due to the particularity of the causes, the pathogenesis of haze-related eye diseases is also different from other common eye surface diseases. However, due to the lack of in-depth understanding of the specific pathogenesis of smog-related eye diseases in the world, clinicians are difficult to cure the disease, and conventional treatment often has limited results. Therefore, if we can clarify the specific pathological process of eye surface diseases such as dry eye and conjunctivitis caused by haze, and find the key signalpathways and molecules in which abnormalities occur, “out of its behind-the-scenes”, it will be of great significance to the drug development and clinical treatment of the future haze-related eye surface disease.
To this end, Zhejiang Ii Ophthalmology Center and Zhejiang CDC to carry out close cooperation around the main component of haze PM2.5 corneal damage effect and its specific mechanism for a long-term in-depth basic research, in vitro confirmed that PM2.5 can affect the activity of the human corneal epithelial cells, proliferation capacity and autophagy level, and for the first time clarified the cell autophagy in PM2.5 caused by the key role in the process of epithelial epithelial cell damage.
The study, published in Eye Watch, is a continuation and extension of the previous study. On the one hand, the team used transcription sequencing to fully explain the molecular mechanism of PM2.5 causing the dysfunction of epithelial cells in the human cornea. On the other hand, the PM2.5 exposed rat model was constructed through the continuous treatment of the cornea of PM2.5, and it was proved in the animals that PM2.5 can lead to a significant decrease in the secretion of tears in rats, and caused significant damage to the corneal epithelial, which further confirmed the clinical results of the team’s earlier stage, but also provided a reliable and ideal platform for the follow-up study of the mechanism of dry eye and other eye surface damage induced by haze. Based on the previous autophagy-related studies and transcriptomic sequencing results, the team used cell models and animal models to reveal for the first time the key role of PAI-2 in the pm2.5 induced corneal cell autophagy process, suggesting that PM2.5 was most likely regulated by PAI-2, leading to corneal damage.
This study provides a potential drug target for clinical treatment of haze-related eye disease, and is a major step forward in the field towardthe the goal of translating basic research results into clinical applications. In the future, Zhejiang Second Eye Center will continue to explore its disease pathology mechanism on the basis of early research, and screen effective candidate drugs, with a view to bringing the gospel to the vast number of patients.