Enriched environment alleviates stress-induced dry-eye through the BDNF axis

Kokoro Sano, Motoko Kawashima, Toshihiro Imada, Toru Suzuki, Shigeru Nakamura, Masaru Mimura, Kenji F. Tanaka, Kazuo Tsubota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The number of patients with dry eye disease (DED) is increasing, and DED has become an urgent public health problem. A comorbidity of mental disorders has been reported in DED patients. We hypothesized that physical and psychological stressors impair tear secretion. To examine the relationship between stress loading and decreased tear secretion, we established a stress-induced DED mouse model, which permitted us to address the underlying mechanism of pathogenesis and resilience. Enriched environment (EE) was an effective intervention to prevent and alleviate stress-induced decreased tear secretion. Because stress loading resulted in decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression while EE resulted in increased expression, we focused on the role of BDNF in tear secretion. Using two distinct Bdnf gene knockdown mice, we evaluated whether BDNF was a deterministic factor in regulating tear secretion in healthy and stressed conditions. Bdnf knockdown mice showed decreased basal tear secretion and loss of stress tolerance by EE for tear secretion. These results suggest that BDNF expression is related to tear secretion and to the pathology of DED.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3422
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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