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Keping Xu, Fu-Shin X. Yu; Impaired Epithelial Wound Healing and EGFR Signaling Pathways in the Corneas of Diabetic Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(6):3301-3308. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.10-5670.
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of hyperglycemia on EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor)-mediated wound response and signal transduction in the corneal epithelium of rats with type I diabetes mellitus (DM).
Corneal epithelia were removed from streptozotocin (STZ)- and weight-matched normal rats. Wound healing was monitored by fluorescein staining at 24 or 48 hours after epithelial debridement. Phosphorylation of EGFR, AKT, ERK, and BAD was determined by Western blot analysis. The distribution of phospho-AKT and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in rat corneas was examined by immunohistochemistry. Cell death was evaluated by TUNEL staining.
A significant delay in corneal epithelial wound healing was observed 48 hours after wounding in the diabetic rats compared with the weight-matched control rats. In the DM rat corneas, epithelial cells demonstrated diminished responses to wounding, as assessed by the phosphorylation of EGFR and its downstream signaling molecules, AKT and ERK. Furthermore, although the distribution pattern of phospho-AKT suggested a role for AKT in epithelial migration and proliferation in the normoglycemic rat corneas, it was abrogated in the healing epithelia of the DM rats. Consistent with impaired AKT activity, the number of PCNA-stained cells was also greatly reduced in the healing corneas of the diabetic rats. Finally, decreases in pBAD (Ser136 and Ser112) and increases in TUNEL-positive cells were observed in both the uninjured and healing corneal epithelia of the DM rats, but not of the control rats.
In the corneas of SZT rats, EGFR-PI3K-AKT and ERK, as well as their downstream BAD signaling pathways in migratory epithelium, were altered, resulting in increased apoptosis, decreased cell proliferation, and delayed wound closure.
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