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Guohu Di, Xia Qi, Xiaowen Zhao, Songmei Zhang, Patrik Danielson, Qingjun Zhou; Corneal Epithelium-Derived Neurotrophic Factors Promote Nerve Regeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(11):4695-4702. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-21372.
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To explore the neurotrophic factor expression in corneal epithelium and evaluate their effects on the trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurite outgrowth and corneal nerve regeneration in mice.
The expression of neurotrophic factors was compared among the intact, regenerating, and regenerated mouse corneal epithelium. Mouse primary TG neurons were treated with the conditioned medium of mouse corneal epithelial cells. Nerve growth factor (NGF) neutralizing antibody and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) neutralizing antibody were used to evaluate their roles in mouse corneal nerve regeneration and TG neurite outgrowth. The promoting effects of NGF and GDNF for the corneal nerve regeneration were further evaluated in the diabetic mice.
The expression of NGF and GDNF showed significant up-regulation in regenerating corneal epithelium and return to the preinjury levels in the regenerated epithelium, which was consistent with the progress of corneal subbasal nerve regeneration. The conditioned medium of corneal epithelial cells promoted the TG neurite outgrowth with extended branching and elongation. Furthermore, the blockage of either NGF or GDNF significantly impaired the promotion of the neurite outgrowth by the conditioned medium or the corneal nerve regeneration in normal mice. Moreover, the expression of NGF and GDNF was attenuated in the diabetic regenerating corneal epithelium as compared to that in normal mice, while exogenous NGF or GDNF supplement promoted the corneal epithelial and nerve regeneration in diabetic mice.
Corneal epithelium expresses multiple neurotrophic factors, among which NGF and GDNF may play an important role in the corneal nerve regeneration.
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