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1.  Ocular toxicity of authentic lunar dust 
BMC Ophthalmology  2012;12:26.
Dust exposure is a well-known occupational hazard for terrestrial workers and astronauts alike and will continue to be a concern as humankind pursues exploration and habitation of objects beyond Earth. Humankind’s limited exploration experience with the Apollo Program indicates that exposure to dust will be unavoidable. Therefore, NASA must assess potential toxicity and recommend appropriate mitigation measures to ensure that explorers are adequately protected. Visual acuity is critical during exploration activities and operations aboard spacecraft. Therefore, the present research was performed to ascertain the ocular toxicity of authentic lunar dust.
Small (mean particle diameter = 2.9 ± 1.0 μm), reactive lunar dust particles were produced by grinding bulk dust under ultrapure nitrogen conditions. Chemical reactivity and cytotoxicity testing were performed using the commercially available EpiOcularTM assay. Subsequent in vivo Draize testing utilized a larger size fraction of unground lunar dust that is more relevant to ocular exposures (particles <120 μm; median particle diameter = 50.9 ± 19.8 μm).
In vitro testing indicated minimal irritancy potential based on the time required to reduce cell viability by 50% (ET50). Follow-up testing using the Draize standard protocol confirmed that the lunar dust was minimally irritating. Minor irritation of the upper eyelids was noted at the 1-hour observation point, but these effects resolved within 24 hours. In addition, no corneal scratching was observed using fluorescein stain.
Low-titanium mare lunar dust is minimally irritating to the eyes and is considered a nuisance dust for ocular exposure. No special precautions are recommended to protect against ocular exposures, but fully shielded goggles may be used if dust becomes a nuisance.
PMCID: PMC3484112  PMID: 22817808
2.  Cholesterol as Treatment for Pneumococcal Keratitis: Cholesterol-Specific Inhibition of Pneumolysin in the Cornea 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether cholesterol, the host cell receptor for pneumolysin of Streptococcus pneumoniae, could effectively treat pneumococcal keratitis.
New Zealand White rabbits were intrastromally injected with 105 colony-forming units (CFUs) of S. pneumoniae D39. Corneas were treated with topical drops of 1% cholesterol every 2 hours beginning 25 hours after infection and were examined by slit lamp microscopy 24, 36, and 48 hours after infection. Rabbits were killed, and CFUs were recovered from the corneas after the final slit lamp examination (SLE). Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays of cholesterol against bacteria were performed. Specific inhibition of pneumolysin by cholesterol in the rabbit cornea was tested by intrastromal injection of pneumolysin with or without cholesterol and was compared with cholesterol inhibition of pneumolysin in vitro using hemolysis assays with rabbit erythrocytes.
Corneas treated with cholesterol had significantly lower SLE scores 48 hours after infection than corneas treated with vehicle (P = 0.0015). Treated corneas also had significantly less log10 CFUs than vehicle-treated corneas (P = 0.0006). Cholesterol at a 1% concentration was bactericidal to bacteria in vitro, and lower concentrations of cholesterol were partially inhibitory in a concentration-dependent manner. Cholesterol also specifically inhibited 1 μg pneumolysin in vivo and up to 50 ng pneumolysin in vitro.
Topical cholesterol is an effective treatment for S. pneumoniae keratitis. Cholesterol not only inhibits pneumolysin, it is also bactericidal.
PMCID: PMC2814300  PMID: 17525197
3.  Protection from Streptococcus pneumoniae Keratitis by Passive Immunization with Pneumolysin Antiserum 
To determine whether passive immunization with pneumolysin antiserum can reduce corneal damage associated with pneumococcal keratitis.
New Zealand White rabbits were intrastromally injected with Streptococcus pneumoniae and then passively immunized with control serum, antiserum against heat-inactivated pneumolysin (HI-PLY), or antiserum against cytotoxin-negative pneumolysin (ψPLY). Slit lamp examinations (SLEs) were performed at 24, 36, and 48 hours after infection. An additional four corneas from rabbits passively immunized with antiserum against ψPLY were examined up to 14 days after infection. Colony forming units (CFUs) were quantitated from corneas extracted at 20 and 48 hours after infection. Histopathology of rabbit eyes was performed at 48 hours after infection.
SLE scores at 36 and 48 hours after infection were significantly lower in rabbits passively immunized with HI-PLY antiserum than in control rabbits (P ≤ 0.043). SLE scores at 24, 36, and 48 hours after infection were significantly lower in rabbits passively immunized with ψPLY antiserum than in control rabbits (P ≤ 0.010). The corneas of passively immunized rabbits that were examined up to 14 days after infection exhibited a sequential decrease in keratitis, with an SLE score average of 2.000 ± 1.586 at 14 days. CFUs recovered from infected corneas were not significantly different between each experimental group and the respective control group at 20 or 48 hours after infection (P ≥ 0.335). Histologic sections showed more corneal edema and polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) infiltration in control rabbits compared with passively immunized rabbits.
HI-PLY and ψPLY both elicit antibodies that provide passive protection against S. pneumoniae keratitis.
PMCID: PMC2633641  PMID: 18172105

Results 1-3 (3)