A novel meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) model induced by the injection of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) in rabbits was developed to facilitate the understanding of the pathophysiology of MGD with meibomitis. In addition, we sought to evaluate treatment with steroid eye drops in this model. Male Japanese white rabbits were subcutaneously injected with CFA into the upper eyelid margin. The eyelid margins of the rabbits were chronologically observed through slit lamp examination. The development of meibomitis was assessed through histopathology. We evaluated the effects of topically applied tobramycin/dexamethasone (Tob/Dex) eye drops on the plugged orifices and telangiectasia. After the injection of CFA, slit lamp examination revealed markedly plugged orifices, telangiectasia around the orifices and a toothpaste-like meibum, as compared with the normal eyelids. Histopathology revealed granulation tissue with infiltration of inflammatory cells, hyperkeratinization of the ductal epithelium, and cystic dilatation of ducts in the meibomian gland. The orifices were plugged with a proteinaceous substance. Tob/Dex eye drops significantly suppressed the plugging and telangiectasia around the orifices. Through the injection of CFA, we successfully established a novel rabbit MGD that mimics the symptoms observed in humans meibomitis. This model should be useful in the evaluation of the efficacy of drug candidates.
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