• canine;
  • corneal epithelium;
  • corticosteroids;
  • NSAID;
  • ophthalmic preservatives;
  • polysulfated glycosaminoglycan;
  • suprofen


Objective To determine the effects of commonly used ophthalmic corticosteroids, suprofen, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan and preservatives on morphologic characteristics and migration of canine corneal epithelium grown in cell culture.

Animals studied Corneal epithelial cells harvested from the corneas of euthanized dogs were propagated in cell culture.

Procedures Canine corneal epithelium was grown in tissue culture. The cells were treated with different corticosteroids, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, suprofen or preservatives at different concentrations after a defect was created in the monolayer. Cellular morphologic characteristics and closure of the defect were compared between test drugs and controls.

Results Morphologically the cells treated with dexamethasone were essentially the same as controls. Prednisolone and hydrocortisone caused rounding and shrinkage of the cells. Both suprofen and polysulfated glycosaminoglycan caused no apparent changes in morphologic characteristics at the lowest concentrations tested, but at higher concentrations there was a concentration-dependent degree of rounding and shrinkage. Benzylkonium chloride and thimerosal caused rounding and shrinkage of all the cells at all concentrations tested. Dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, and suprofen did not inhibit epithelial migration over the defects at the lowest concentrations tested. All other drugs and concentrations inhibited cellular migration.

Conclusion Dexamethasone affected the morphologic characteristics and migration of corneal epithelial cells less than hydrocortisone and prednisolone; therefore, dexamethasone may be the drug of choice when a corticosteroid is indicated and an epithelial defect is present. Suprofen and polysulfated glycosaminoglycan caused a concentration-dependent effect on morphologic characteristics and migration. The preservatives caused severe changes and inhibited migration of the canine corneal epithelial cells at all concentrations and may therefore contribute to poor epithelialization of ulcers treated with preservative-containing drugs.