Studies have reported that the incidence of ocular discomfort in people who often wear makeup is higher than that in the normal population. The incidence of ocular discomfort of these people may be also related to the daily ocular exposure to chemical surfactants during cleaning. The objectives of this study were to explore morphological and pathological changes in the murine ocular surface after low-dose repeated exposure to disodium cocoamphodiacetate (DC), a kind of chemical surfactant widely used in personal cleaning products, and to investigate the possible mechanisms. DC was administered in low dose (0.1%) to the ocular surface of C56BL/6 once daily for two weeks. We found that there were an increase of sodium fluorescein staining on the cornea, a significant thinning of corneal epithelial thickness, and increased TUNEL-positive cells in corneal epithelium in vivo. DC treatment also modulated the distribution of K14 and P63 epithelia from the limbal to the center on the cornea. In cultured murine corneal epithelial progenitor cell line (TKE2), DC treatment induced cell detachment and decreased the activation of Ak strain transforming protein (AKT), and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). And DC increased TUNEL-positive cells in vitro with increased expression of cleaved Caspase3 and B-cell lymphoma-2 associated X protein (Bax). Our results indicated that repeated low-dose DC exposure on ocular surface caused significant impairment on the structure and viability of the corneal epithelium by inhibiting epithelial proliferation and inducing apoptosis. It provides the foundations to understand the harmful effects of cleaning products daily exposure on the ocular surface.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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