A dose-escalation ex vivo study on the effects of intracameral benzalkonium chloride in,

Sergi Segarra, Marta Leiva, Daniel Costa, Natàlia Coyo, Maria Sabés-Alsina, José Ríos, Teresa Peña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Rabbits are currently not a good model for studying diseases of the corneal endothelium because their corneal endothelial cells (CECs) maintain a high proliferative capacity throughout almost all their life. Addressing this particular feature might allow the use of this species for such a purpose. The aim of this study was to evaluate the corneal endothelial injury after intracameral benzalkonium chloride (BAC) injection into rabbit eyes ex vivo, and to establish the most suitable starting dose for an in vivo study aimed at developing an animal model of corneal endothelial disease. Results: Forty rabbit eyes obtained postmortem by transconjunctival enucleation were divided into 8 groups according to the injected compound: Control (no injection), BSS, and increasing BAC concentrations (0.005%, 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.05%, 0.1% and 0.2%). At 0, 6, 24 and 48 h, ophthalmologic examination of the anterior segment, pachymetry and specular microscopy were performed, and corneas were finally vital-stained and observed under the light microscope to assess the CECs morphology and mortality rate. When compared to BSS, CECs density started to decrease significantly at 0.025% BAC concentration, while mean cell area, corneal edema and corneal thickness began to increase significantly at 0.05%, 0.005% and 0.1% BAC concentrations, respectively. Concentrations of 0.05% BAC and above caused significant increases in CECs pleomorphism (decreased hexagonality) and mortality, compared to control and BSS. Conclusions: Ex vivo intracameral BAC injection induces corneal endothelial toxicity in rabbits. However, confirmatory in vivo studies are required to develop the desired model, with 0.05% BAC being a suggested starting point.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2018


  • Corneal
  • Corneal endothelium
  • Endothelial cells
  • Endothelial degeneration
  • Endothelial dystrophy


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