(CTN News) – In a mouse model of dry eye disease, oral administration of a commercially available strain of a probiotic bacterial strainaccording to a study.
The condition of dry eye is characterized by the fact that the tears produced by the eye are not capable of adequately lubricating the eye.
Inflammation of the eye can cause it to sting and burn, as well as blurred vision and sensitivity to light. It is important to note that if left untreated, extreme cases can cause permanent damage to the eye’s surface.
A number of treatments are available such as eye drops, gels, and ointments, which are the most commonly used. There is a new, unconventional treatment that involves the use of bacteria in the intestinal tract in order to work.
The ‘friendly’ bacteria that live within the human gastrointestinal tract have been linked to health and protection against disease in many parts of the body, including the gut, the brain, and the lungs, said Laura Schaefer from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, that the gut microbiome also affects the eyes in the same way,” she continued.
During ASM Microbe 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Schaefer presented the findings from this study.
A dry eye mouse model was used in the study, in which the team administered a probiotic strain of bacteria – Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM17938 – orally into the eye.
A human-derived, commercially available probiotic bacterial strain known as DSM17938 has already demonstrated protective effects on the gut and immune system of humans and mice, but it has not been tested in the context of eye health in humans or mice yet.
First, mice were treated with antibiotics, which have the effect of killing many of the “friendly” bacteria living in the guts of mice.
After that, they were kept in very dry conditions and fed daily doses of bacteria or a saline solution as a control, as well as exposed to very dry conditions.
In five days’ time, the eyes were examined for any signs of disease.
It has been found that mice that have been fed probiotic bacteria have healthier and more intact corneal surfaces than mice that have not.
There was also an increase in goblet cells in the eye tissue of these mice, which are special cells that produce mucin within the tear film, which is one of the essential components of tears.
In light of these findings, the researchers concluded that, taken together, the right oral probiotic could be an effective treatment and management tool for dry eye syndrome.