In vitro effects of aminoglycosides and fluoroquinolones on keratocytes

Berthold Seitz, Seiji Hayashi, Won Ryang Wee, Laurie LaBree, Peter J. McDonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose. Commonly used fluoroquinolones are reported to have less of an effect than amino-glycosides on corneal epithelial cells. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of these antibiotics on stromal keratocytes in vitro. Methods. Cultured rabbit keratocytes were incubated with various concentrations of gentamicin, tobramycin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin. Evaluations were performed by means of phase-contrast microscopy and [3H]thymidine uptake assay after 24 hours and 48 hours of incubation with the drug (concentrations from 3 to 0.003 mg/ml). Results. At a concentration of 3 mg/ml, all three fluoroquinolones inhibited keratocyte proliferation significantly more than either aminoglycoside after 24 hours (P < 0.001) and after 48 hours (P< 0.001). In contrast to the aminoglycoside, all three fluoroquinolones induced a dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation after 24 hours. Even at the lowest concentration (0.003 mg/ml), ofloxacin and norfloxacin inhibited keratocyte proliferation significantly (P = 0.001) compared to control after 24 hours. Concentrations of fluoroquinolones ranging from 0.09 to 0.24 mg/ml produced a 50% inhibition of proliferation, a level of inhibition not observed with any tested concentration of aminoglycosides. After 24 hours, all three fluoroquinolones, but neither of the aminoglycosides, showed moderate to severe signs of cytotoxicity at a concentration of 3 mg/ml. Conclusions. Relative effects of fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides on epithelial cells anti stromal keratocytes appear to be different. This might have an impact on choosing the optimal antibiotic drug to be applied prophylactically in clinical situations in which the epithelium is absent, such as after photorefractive keratectomy or chemical burn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-665
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • antibiotics
  • antiproliferative effects
  • corneal stroma
  • cytotoxicity
  • keratocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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