The ocular surface is always attacked by oxidative stress, and cornea epithelial cells are supposed to have their own recovery system against oxidative stress. Therefore we hypothesized that tears supply key molecules for preventing oxidative stress in cornea. The potential target key molecule we focused is selenoprotein P (SeP). SeP is a carrier of selenium, which is an essential trace element for many animals, for oxidative stress metabolism in the organism, and was extremely expressed in lacrimal gland. An experiment was performed with SeP eye drops in a rat dry eye model, prepared by removing the lacrimal glands. The anticipated improvement in corneal dry eye index and the suppression of oxidative stress markers were observed in SeP eye drop group. Furthermore, the concentration of SeP was significantly higher in dry eye patients compared with normal volunteers. Collectively, we concluded that tear SeP is a key molecule to protect the ocular surface cells against environmental oxidative stress.
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