Comparison of Cytotoxic Effects on Rabbit Corneal Endothelium between Preservative-free and Preservative-containing Dorzolamide/timolol

Junki Kwon, Jeong Hwa Heo, Hyo Myung Kim, Jong Suk Song

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12 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: To evaluate and compare the toxic effects of eyedrops containing a fixed combination of 2.0% dorzolamide and 0.5% maleate timolol with or without preservatives on rabbit corneal endothelium.

METHODS: This study was performed with 22 eyes of New Zealand white rabbits. Dorzolamide/timolol eyedrops with preservative (Cosopt group) or without preservative (Cosopt-S group) were diluted with a balanced salt solution at a 1 : 1 ratio. We injected 0.1 mL of diluted Cosopt into the anterior chamber of left eyes and an equal volume of diluted Cosopt-S into the anterior chamber of right eyes. Corneal thickness, corneal haze, and conjunctival injection were measured before and 24 hours after treatment. Endothelial damage was compared between both eyes by vital staining (alizarin red/trypan blue staining), live/dead cell assay, TUNEL assay, and scanning electron microscopy.

RESULTS: Corneal endothelial damage was severe in the Cosopt group. Cosopt-treated eyes exhibited remarkable corneal edema and prominent apoptosis of endothelial cells. In addition, the live/dead cell assay revealed many dead cells in the endothelium, and scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that corneal endothelial cells exhibited a partial loss of microvilli on the surface as well as extensive destruction of intercellular junctions. However, in the Cosopt-S group, corneal edema was mild and the damage to the corneal endothelium was minimal.

CONCLUSIONS: The main cause of corneal endothelial toxicity was due to the preservative in the dorzolamide/timolol fixed combination eyedrops, and not the active ingredient. Thus, it appears to be safer to use preservative-free eyedrops during the early postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalKorean journal of ophthalmology : KJO
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Endothelium
  • Ophthalmic solutions
  • Rabbits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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