Inflammaging at ocular surface: clinical and biomolecular analyses in healthy volunteers

Antonio Di Zazzo, Alessandra Micera, Marco Coassin, Giuseppe Varacalli, William Foulsham, Maria De Piano, Stefano Bonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

PURPOSE. To assess the ocular surface in volunteers who consider themselves as healthy, in order to evaluate how para-inflammatory mechanisms fail with age, and thus investigate the phenomenon of ‘‘InflammAging.’’ METHODS. In this observational prospective cohort study, volunteers were categorized into three groups according to age: young (19–40 years), middle-aged (41–60 years), and older adults (61–93 years). Clinical assessments included tear breakup time (T-BUT) and Schirmer test type I. Dry eye symptoms were evaluated by the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. Conjunctival mRNA and protein expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), MUC5AC, and IL-8 were measured by real-time PCR and immunofluorescence. RESULTS. A total of 82 volunteers (38 males and 44 females) were enrolled. T-BUT decreased significantly with increasing age (young: 11.13 ± 0.18 seconds; middle-aged: 10.83 ± 0.56 seconds; older: 9.00 ± 1.00 seconds, P < 0.05). Schirmer test values decreased significantly with age (young: 20.6 ± 1.0 mm; middle-aged: 19.2 ± 1.2 mm; older: 16.0 ± 1.1 mm, P < 0.05). OSDI scores increased with age in both groups, but they were substantially higher in women. Conjunctival expression of inflammatory markers ICAM-1, IL-8, and MUC5AC increased with age. CONCLUSIONS. Clinical signs, symptoms, and biomarkers of chronic inflammation increased with age in a cohort of volunteers who considered themselves healthy, indicating an age-related progressive impairment of ocular surface system function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1769-1775
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Volume60
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Dry eye
  • Health volunteers
  • Ocular surface
  • Para-inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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