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J.J. Pintor, G. Carracedo, A. Mediero, A. Guzman–Aranguez, M. Irazu, T. Pelaez, A. Peral; Melatonin Increases the Rate of Corneal Re–epithelialisation in New Zealand White Rabbits . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):2152.
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Purpose:Melatonin is a biologically relevant substance that can affect multiple ocular processes such as the retinal functioning or the aqueous humour hydrodynamics. We have investigated if the topical application of melatonin to rabbit corneal wounds can modify the rate of re–epithelialisation. Methods:Corneal wounds were made in both eyes by anaesthetising New Zealand rabbits with 1.5 mg/kg propofol. After topical anaesthesia with oxibuprocaine and tetracaine (0.4 and 1% respectively), corneal wounds were made to the epithelia of both eyes by applying a 3–mm disc of Whatman no. 1 paper soaked in n–heptanol. The wounds were stained with 2% fluorescein every 2 h and eyes were examined with a Topcon SL–8Z slit lamp. Melatonin and analogues were assayed at single doses of 10 nmol (volume instilled 10 µL) to the wound every 6 h. The contralateral eye received the same volume of saline. Migration rates were determined by linear regression of the decrease in wound radius during the healing phase (10–34 h) and were obtained by the slope of the regression line expressed as micrometers per hour. Results: In the absence of any added compound the rate of healing was 75 ± 5 µm h–1. Melatonin (10 nmol/10 µl) accelerated the rate of healing to 110 ± 7 µm h–1 (n=8). The application of the non–selective melatonin antagonist luzindole (10 nmol/10µL), reversed the effect of melatonin to values lower than the control (52 µm h–1). Melatonin effect was also antagonised by the MT3 receptor antagonist prazosin sugesting the involvement of this receptor in the re–epithelialisation process. Conclusions: Melatonin receptors seem to be present on the corneal epithelial cells and they may be responsible for the control of the epithelial cell migration.
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