School of Medical and Health Sciences
UVB irradiation has been linked to pathogenesis of pterygium, a conjunctival tumor growing onto transparent cornea, the windscreen of the eye. Due to corneal anatomy, ambient UVB irradiation is amplified at the stem cell-containing nasal limbus. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of a UV-blocking contact lens (UVBCL, senofilcon A, Class 1 UV blocker) on limbal epithelial cells and fibroblasts under UVB irradiation compared to a non-UVB-blocking contact lens. UVBCL prevented UVB-induced DNA damage (as assessed by cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer immunostaining) as well as a decrease in proliferation and scratch wound closure rate of both limbal epithelial and fibroblast cells. Similarly, UVBCL protected limbal epithelial cells from UVB-induced loss of their phenotype in terms of colony forming efficiency and stem cell marker expression (ABCB5, P63α, integrin β1) compared to controls. Moreover, with UVBCL pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNFα and MCP1 remained unchanged. These data demonstrate the significance of UV-protection in preserving the limbal niche in response to at least short-term UVB. Our data support the use of UVBCL in protecting limbal niche cells, especially after limbal stem cell transplantation and in patients after pterygium surgery, to help prevent recurrences.
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