Our study aims to determine whether the beta-adrenergic system is involved in the regulation of lymphatic drainage from the eye. For this purpose, we assessed the effect of 2 topical beta-adrenergic blockers, timolol and betaxolol, commonly used as glaucoma drugs, on lymphatic clearance of albumin from the aqueous humor to neck lymph nodes. Adult mice were treated with either topical timolol, a non-selective β-blocker, 0.5% (n = 8), or topical betaxolol, a selective β1-adrenergic blocker, 0.5% (n = 6) twice daily for 14 days and compared to respective control groups (n = 5 and n = 7). Changes in lymphatic clearance from the eye were assessed using a quantitative in vivo photoacoustic imaging approach. In all subjects, right eye and neck lymph nodes were longitudinally assessed by sequential photoacoustic imaging just prior to near-infrared dye injection into the anterior chamber of the eye, and 20 min, 2 and 4 h after injection. Repeat measurements of mean pixel intensities (MPIs) of right eyes and nodes were performed at all timepoints. The areas under the curves (AUC) were calculated and the AUC of the treated-group was compared to that of controls using the Mann-Whitney U test. The slopes of MPI of each region of interest over time were compared using the linear mixed model after adjusting for IOP decrease after treatment and other parameters such as sex and body weight. In the timolol-treated group, right neck nodes showed significant decrease in AUC signal intensity compared with controls (P = 0.003), and significant decrease in slope of MPI compared with controls (P = 0.0025). In the betaxolol-treated group, right neck nodes showed significant decrease in AUC signal intensity compared with controls (P = 0.02), and significant decrease in slope of MPI compared with controls (P = 0.0069). Topical treatment with timolol and betaxolol reduced lymphatic clearance of albumin from the aqueous humor to the neck lymph nodes. This finding may be relevant for the management of secondary glaucomas and inflammatory eye disease in which the clearance of accumulated proteins and antigen from the eye is important to disease recovery and sight protection. This study suggests that the beta-adrenergic system plays a role in the regulation of lymphatic clearance from the eye.

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