Prolonged hypoxia induces lipid raft formation and increases Pseudomonas internalization in vivo after contact lens wear and lid closure

Nobutaka Yamamoto, Naoka Yamamoto, James V. Jester, Walter M Petroll, Harrison D Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To investigate the effects of hypoxia on lipid raft formation and Pseudomonas aeruginosa internalization by the corneal epithelium with and without the physical effects of contact lens wear. METHODS. One eye of each rabbit was randomly fitted with a low-Dk rigid gas-permeable contact lens (LDCTL) or closed with sutures, with the other as a control. After 1 day or 3 days, the rabbits were killed and bacterial invasion was assessed by gentamicin survival assay. Lipid rafts were identified by staining with FITC-conjugated β subunit of cholera toxin. Corneal epithelial Bcl-2 expression was detected by Western blotting; surface epithelial cell size and thickness (epithelium and stroma) were measured by confocal microscopy. RESULTS. One-day hypoxia induced no significant changes in P. aeruginosa internalization, Bcl-2 expression, or lipid raft formation except in one of four eyelid-closed eyes. After 3 days, P. aeruginosa internalization was increased significantly (P < 0.05) in LDCTL-wearing eyes and not significantly (P = 0.10) increased in eyelid-closed eyes. Both 3-day test conditions also induced lipid raft-forming cells that bound P. aeruginosa, albeit in different regions of the cornea (peripherally in LDCTL-wearing eyes and centrally in closed eyes); did not alter epithelial thickness or surface cell size; and appeared to decrease epithelial Bcl-2 expression. CONCLUSIONS. This is the first direct comparison in vivo between two different methods inducing hypoxia on the corneal surface. Association of P. aeruginosa internalization with lipid raft formation in both conditions suggests a critical link among prolonged hypoxia, lipid raft formation, and susceptibility to P. aeruginosa infection. However, different distribution patterns of lipid raft-forming cells suggest physical effects of contact lens wear may direct localization of lipid raft-associated P. aeruginosa internalization on the corneal surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalEye and Contact Lens
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Bcl-2
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Contact lens
  • Eyelid closure
  • Hypoxia
  • Lipid raft
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Western blotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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