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Daniel J. Gibson, Liya Pi, Sriniwas Sriram, Cong Mao, Bryon E. Petersen, Edward W. Scott, Andrew Leask, Gregory S. Schultz; Conditional Knockout of CTGF Affects Corneal Wound Healing. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(4):2062-2070. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-12735.
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This study aimed to elucidate the role of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in healthy eyes and wounded corneas of mice and rabbits. Conditional knockout mice were used to determine the role of CTGF in corneal healing.
CTGFexpression was determined using transgenic mice carrying CTGF promoter driven–eGFP, quantitative RT-PCR, and immunofluorescent staining. Mice that carried two floxed CTGF alleles and a Cre/ERT2 transgene under the control of human ubiquitin C (ubc) promoter were used to conditionally delete CTGF gene in a tamoxifen-inducible manner. Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) was used to generate an acute corneal wound and corneal re-epithelialization was assessed by fluorescein staining.
Connective tissue growth factor expression was found in multiple ocular tissues with relatively high levels in the corneal endothelium, lens subcapsular epithelium, and in the vasculature of the iris and retina. Wounded corneas responded with an immediate upregulation of CTGF in the epithelium at the wound margin and a sustained CTGF induction during re-epithelialization. At the onset of haze formation, CTGF protein becomes more focused in the basal epithelium. Deletion of the CTGF gene caused a 40% reduction (P < 0.01) in the cornea re-epithelialization rate in knockout mice compared with wild-type mice.
Connective tissue growth factor is expressed in the naïve cornea, lens, iris, and retina, and is expressed immediately after epithelial injury. Loss of CTGF impairs efficient re-epithelialization of corneal wounds.
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