Purpose: Our study aimed to determine whether the altered expression of biomarkers linked to corneal injuries, such as the edema-regulating proteins aquaporin-1 and aquaporin-5 (AQP1 and AQP5), occurred following primary blast exposure. Methods: Adult male Dutch Belted rabbits were anesthetized and exposed to blast waves with peak overpressures of 142.5–164.1 kPa (20.4–23.4 psi). These exposure groups experienced peak blast overpressure-specific impulses (impulse per unit surface area) of 199.6–228.5 kPa-ms. Unexposed rabbits were included as controls. The animals were euthanized at 48 h post-exposure. Corneas obtained from the euthanized blast-exposed and control rabbits were processed for quantitative PCR and western blot to quantify mRNA and the protein expression of AQP1 and AQP5. Immunohistochemical analysis was conducted to determine the cellular localization of AQP1 and AQP5. Results: Corneal thickness increased up to 18% with the peak blast overpressure-specific impulses of 199.6–228.5 kPa-ms at 48 h after blast exposure. mRNA levels of AQP1 and AQP5 increased in the whole cornea lysates of blast-exposed rabbits relative to those of the controls. Western blot analyses of whole cornea lysates revealed that the expression levels of AQP1 and AQP5 were approximately 2-and 1.5-fold higher, respectively, in blast-exposed rabbits compared to controls. The extent of AQP1 immunostaining (AQP1-IS) increased in the epithelial cell layer after blast exposure. The AQP5-IS pattern changed from a mixed membrane and cytoplasmic expression in the controls to predominantly cytoplasmic expression in the basally located cornea epithelial cells of blast-exposed rabbits. Conclusions: Primary blast exposure resulted in edema-related changes in the cornea manifested by the altered expression of the edema-regulating proteins AQP1 and AQP5 with blast overpressure-specific impulses. These findings support potential acute corneal injury mechanisms in which the altered regulation of water permeability is caused by primary blast exposure.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 2019|
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