The ocular surface is strongly affected by oxidative stress, which causes many ocular diseases including dry eye. Previously, we showed that selenium compounds, e.g., selenoprotein P and Se-lactoferrin, were candidates for treatment of dry eye. This paper shows the efficacy of Se-lactoferrin for the treatment of dry eye compared with Diquas as a control drug using two dry eye models and incorporation of lactoferrin into corneal epithelial cells via lactoferrin receptors. We show the efficacy of Se-lactoferrin eye drops in the tobacco smoke exposure rat dry eye model and short-term rabbit dry eye model, although Diquas eye drops were only effective in the short-term rabbit dry eye model. These results indicate that Se-lactoferrin was useful in the oxidative stress-causing dry eye model. Se-lactoferrin was taken into corneal epithelium cells via lactoferrin receptors. We identified LRP1 as the lactoferrin receptor in the corneal epithelium involved in lactoferrin uptake. Se-lactoferrin eye drops did not irritate the ocular surface of rabbits. Se-lactoferrin was an excellent candidate for treatment of dry eye, reducing oxidative stress by a novel mechanism.
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