Back to Journals » Clinical Ophthalmology » Volume 4

Toxicity of antiglaucoma drugs with and without benzalkonium chloride to cultured human corneal endothelial cells

Authors Ayaki M , Iwasawa A, Inoue Y

Published 15 October 2010 Volume 2010:4 Pages 1217—1222


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Masahiko Ayaki1, Atsuo Iwasawa2, Yoichi Inoue3

1Department of Ophthalmology, Saitama National Hospital, Wako, Japan; 2Life Particle Interaction Engineering Creation, New Industry Creation Hatchery Center, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; 3Department of Ophthalmology, Olympia Eye Hospital, Tokyo, Japan

Purpose: The toxicity of antiglaucoma medications to ocular surface cells has been evaluated extensively; however, the toxicity to corneal endothelial cells (CECs) remains elusive. Our aim is to evaluate the toxicity of antiglaucoma medications to CECs using an in vitro toxicity assay.
Methods: Primary cultures of human (H) CECs derived from eye bank specimens were established. Following exposure of HCECs to test solutions for 10, 30, or 60 minutes, or 48 hours, we measured cell viability using a WST-1 assay. Test solutions were diluted in culture media and included 0.5% Timoptol®, preservative-free 0.5% timolol maleate, 1% Trusopt®, preservative-free 1% dorzolamide, Travatan®, Travatan Z®, Xalatan®, and benzalkonium chloride (BAK). To assess cell viability, the value of the test culture well after treatment was expressed as a percentage of that of the control well. Toxicity of each solution was compared using the cell viability score (CVS).
Results: After exposure to 10-fold dilutions of test solutions for 48 hours, HCEC viabilities were 48.5% for 0.5% Timoptol, 80.9% for preservative-free 0.5% timolol maleate, 47.0% for 1% Trusopt, 71.7% for preservative-free 1% dorzolamide, 55.5% for Travatan, 88.5% for Travatan Z, and 52.5% for Xalatan. Exposure to test solutions diluted 100-fold or more resulted in HCEC viabilities > 80%, with the exception of preservative-free 1% dorzolamide, which resulted in a viability of 72.0% at a dilution of 100-fold. Based on CVS, the order of cell viability was Travatan Z ≥ preservative-free timolol maleate = preservative-free dorzolamide > 0.5% Timoptol = 1% Trusopt > Travatan ≥ Xalatan. Assessment of the combined effect of drug and BAK revealed that latanoprost reduced the toxicity of BAK.
Conclusion: Antiglaucoma eye drops produced HCEC toxicity that appeared to depend on the presence of BAK. Because dilution of the antiglaucoma solutions resulted in markedly lower HCEC toxicity, HCEC damage due to antiglaucoma medication may occur only in rare cases. The CVS was useful for comparison of the toxicity of the drugs.

Keywords: cell viability score, eye drop, preservatives

Creative Commons License © 2010 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.