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Elizabeth Curto, Amber Labelle, Heather Chandler; Aloe vera: An in-vitro study of effects on corneal wound closure and collagenase activity. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):3879.
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To evaluate the in vitro effects of an aloe vera solution on 1) the viability and wound healing response of corneal cells, and 2) the ability to alter collagenase and gelatinase activity.
Primary cultures of corneal epithelial cells and fibroblasts were prepared from grossly normal enucleated canine globes and treated with an aloe solution (doses ranging from 0.0 - 2mg/mL). Cellular viability was evaluated using a colorimetric assay. A corneal wound healing model was used to quantify cellular ingrowth across a defect made on the confluent surface. Anti-collagenase and anti-gelatinase activity was evaluated by incubating a bacterial collagenase/gelatinase with aloe solution (doses ranging from 0.0 - 500µg/mL) and comparing outcome measures to a general metalloproteinase inhibitor, 1, 10-phenanthroline, and canine serum (doses ranging from 0.0 - 100%).
None of the concentrations of aloe solution tested significantly affected viability of corneal epithelial cells or fibroblasts. Concentrations ≥175µg/mL significantly (p≤0.001) slowed the rate of corneal fibroblast wound closure while aloe concentrations <175µg/mL did not significantly alter fibroblast wound closure. Concentrations ≤175µg/mL accelerated corneal epithelial cell wound closure, while concentrations of aloe ≥ 250µg/mL decreased the rate of wound closure; neither were significant. Aloe solution increased collagenase activity of type I and type IV collagen and decreased gelatinase activity.
Although additional experiments are required, lower concentrations of aloe solution may be beneficial in healing of superficial corneal wounds to help decrease fibrosis and speed epithelialization. An increase in collagenase activity with aloe vera warrants further testing before considering in-vivo studies.
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