Oral Probiotic Improves Dry Eye Disease in Animal Model
Complete the form below to unlock access to ALL audio articles.
In a study by a research group at Baylor College of Medicine, oral administration of a commercially available probiotic bacterial strain was found to improve dry eye disease in an animal model. The findings were presented at ASM Microbe 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Presenting author Laura Schaefer, Ph.D., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, said, “The ‘friendly’ bacteria that live in the human gastrointestinal tract have been linked to health and protection against disease in many parts of the body, including the gut, brain and lung. It’s therefore not surprising that the gut microbiome also has effects on our eyes.”
Previous work by this research group showed that mice given gut bacteria from human Sjögren syndrome patients with severe dry eye developed worse eye disease under dry conditions than mice that were given gut bacteria from healthy human patients. This suggests that the gut bacteria from healthy people help to protect the surface of the eye in dry conditions. One possible treatment avenue for dry eye would involve probiotic bacteria that have similar protective effects. The group investigated this by using an orally administered probiotic bacterial strain, Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM17938, in a dry eye mouse model. DSM17938 is a human-derived, commercially available probiotic bacterial strain that has already demonstrated protective effects in the gut and immune system in humans and mice, but it has not been tested in the context of eye health.
Mice were first treated with antibiotics, which kill many of the “friendly” bacteria living in the gut. They were then exposed to very dry conditions and fed daily doses of either probiotic bacteria or a saline solution as a control. After 5 days, the eyes were examined for disease. The mice that were fed the probiotic bacteria had healthier and more intact corneal surfaces. In addition, these mice had more goblet cells in their eye tissue, which are specialized cells that produce mucin, an essential component in tears. Taken together these data suggest that the right oral probiotic could help treat and manage dry eye symptoms.
This article is based on research findings that are yet to be peer-reviewed. Results are therefore regarded as preliminary and should be interpreted as such. Find out about the role of the peer review process in research here. For further information, please contact the cited source.
This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.