Trpv1 and trpm8 channels and nocifensive behavior in a rat model for dry eye

David A Bereiter, Md. M Rahman, Randall Thompson, Pannaporn Stephenson, Hiroto Saito

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57 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Persistent ocular surface pain occurs in moderate to severe dry eye disease (DE); however, the mechanisms that underlie this symptom remain uncertain. The aim of this study was to determine if the transient receptor potential vanilloid ion channels play a role in hypertonic saline (HS)-evoked corneal reflexes in a model for aqueous tear deficient DE. METHODS. Eye wipe behavior and orbicularis oculi muscle activity (OOemg) were measured after ocular instillation of HS, capsaicin, or menthol 14 days after exorbital gland removal. Total RNA and protein were measured from anterior eye segment and trigeminal ganglia of sham and DE rats. RESULTS. Eye wipe behavior was enhanced in DE rats after HS and capsaicin instillation, but not after menthol when compared to sham rats. DE rats displayed greater OOemg activity after HS and capsaicin, but not after menthol, compared to sham rats. HS-evoked OOemg activity was reduced by selective TRPV1 antagonists and by coapplication of capsaicin plus QX-314, a charged lidocaine derivative. Menthol did not affect OOemg activity; however, selective antagonism of TRPM8 reduced HS-evoked OOemg activity. TRPV1 protein levels were increased in anterior eye segment and trigeminal ganglion samples from DE rats, whereas TRPM8 levels were not affected. CONCLUSIONS. These results suggest that TRPV1 plays a significant role in mediating enhanced nocifensive behavior in DE, while TRPM8 may play a lesser role. Strategies to target specific transducer molecules on corneal nerves may prove beneficial as adjunct therapies in managing ocular pain in moderate to severe cases of DE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3739-3746
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by National Institutes of Health Grant EY028143 (DAB). Disclosure: D.A. Bereiter, None; M. Rahman, None; R. Thompson, None; P. Stephenson, None; H. Saito, None

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors.


  • Behavior test
  • Dry eye
  • Electromyography
  • Transient receptor potential melastatin 8
  • Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1


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