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Jia Yin, Fu-Shin X. Yu; LL-37 via EGFR Transactivation to Promote High Glucose–Attenuated Epithelial Wound Healing in Organ-Cultured Corneas. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(4):1891-1897. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-3904.
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Patients with diabetes are at higher risk for delayed corneal reepithelialization and infection. Previous studies indicated that high glucose (HG) impairs epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and attenuates ex vivo corneal epithelial wound healing. The authors investigated the effects of antimicrobial peptide LL-37 on HG-attenuated corneal epithelial EGFR signaling and wound closure.
Human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) were stimulated with LL-37. Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) shedding was assessed by measuring the release of alkaline phosphatase (AP) in a stable HCEC line expressing HB-EGF-AP. Activation of EGFR, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) was determined by Western blot analysis. Corneal epithelial wound closure was assessed in cultured HCECs and porcine corneas. LL-37 expression was determined by immune dot blot.
LL-37 induced HB-EGF-AP release and EGFR activation in a dose-dependent manner. LL-37 prolonged EGFR signaling in response to wounding. LL-37 enhanced the closure of a scratch wound in cultured HCECs and partially rescued HG-attenuated wound healing in an EGFR- and a PI3K-dependent manner and restored HG-impaired EGFR signaling in cultured porcine corneas. HG attenuated wounding-induced LL-37 expression in cultured HCECs.
LL-37 is a tonic factor promoting EGFR signaling and enhancing epithelial wound healing in normal and high glucose conditions. With both antimicrobial and regenerative capabilities, LL-37 may be a potential therapeutic for diabetic keratopathy.
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