Myopia is a common ocular disorder with significant alterations in the anterior ocular structure, including the cornea. The cell biophysical phenotype has been proposed to reflect the state of various diseases. However, the biophysical properties of corneal cells have not been characterized during myopia progression and their relationship with myopia remains unknown. This study characterizes the biophysical properties of corneal cells in normal, myopic, and recovered conditions, using two classical myopia models. Surprisingly, myopic corneal cells considerably reduce F-actin/microtubule content and cellular stiffness and generate elevated traction force compared to control cells. When myopia is restored to the healthy state, these biophysical properties are partially/fully restored to the levels of control cells. Furthermore, the level of chromatin condensation is significantly increased in the nucleus of myopic corneal cells and reduced to a level similar to healthy cells after recovery. These findings demonstrate that the reversible biophysical alterations of corneal cells reflect myopia progression, facilitating the study of the role of corneal cell biophysics in myopia.
Copyright © 2021 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.