Exp Eye Res. 2023 May 9:109498. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2023.109498. Online ahead of print.
Oxidative stress is closely associated with diabetes and can cause free radical accumulation and eventually lead to ocular surface tissue damage. The purpose of this study was to investigate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) expression in the lacrimal gland (LG), meibomian gland, and cornea of diabetes-related dry eye mice and whether the PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone can alleviate the oxidative stress of the ocular surface, thereby improving the condition of diabetes-related dry eye. Quantitative RT-PCR (Q-PCR) showed that the PPARγ, catalase, glutathione peroxidase 3, and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) mRNA expression levels in the LG of diabetes-related dry eye mice decreased at 8 and 12 weeks. In addition, the increased levels of oxidative stress were confirmed by western blot. Although the mRNA expression levels of antioxidant enzymes in the cornea and meibomian gland decreased at 8 weeks, some of them recovered by 12 weeks. Rosiglitazone alleviated ocular surface damage and increased corneal sensitivity and tear production in diabetes-related dry eye mice. Moreover, the reactive oxygen species accumulation was reduced and the PPARγ, HO-1, and glutathione peroxidase 3 mRNA expression levels were increased in the LG. The PPARγ, HO-1, translocase of the outer membrane 20, and mitochondrial transcription factor A protein levels were also significantly increased. These results demonstrated that rosiglitazone reduced oxidative stress in the LG of diabetes-related dry eye mice, at least in part, by activating PPARγ to up-regulate antioxidant enzyme expression.