A high-fat diet leads to dysfunction in multiple systems of the body. Herein we investigate the effects of a high-fat diet on the ocular surface using a murine model.
Four-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed with a standard-fat diet (10 kcal% fat, SFD) or a high-fat diet (60 kcal% fat, HFD) for 1 or 3 months. Phenol red thread test was used to detect tear production, oregon green dextran (OGD) staining was performed to assess corneal epithelial permeability, and PAS staining was conducted to ascertain the presence of conjunctival goblet cells. Squamous metaplasia in the ocular surface and corneal epithelial barrier function were detected by immunofluorescent staining, zymography and Western blot analysis. Oxidative stress related protein expression was evaluated by immunostaining and Western blot analysis. Corneal and conjunctival cell apoptosis was determined by TUNEL assay and caspase-3 expression.
A HFD induced obvious ocular surface damages, including decreased tear production, notable OGD staining and distinct goblet cell loss. It also resulted in corneal epithelial barrier dysfunction and significant squamous metaplasia of the corneal and conjunctival epithelia. The HFD also up-regulated key factors that regulate oxidative stress in the ocular surface, and upregulated cell apoptosis in ocular surface epithelial cells.
A HFD induces dry eye-like ocular surface damages in mice via the activation of oxidative stress and an induction of apoptosis in the cells of the ocular surface.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.