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Romina Mayra Lasagni Vitar, Marco Barbariga, Philippe Fonteyne, Fabio Bignami, Paolo Rama, Giulio Ferrari; Modulating Ocular Surface Pain Through Neurokinin-1 Receptor Blockade. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(3):26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.3.26.
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The purpose of this study was to test the role of substance P (SP) and its receptor neurokinin 1 (NK1R) on ocular surface pain.
Eight-week-old C57BL6/N (wild type [WT]) and B6.Cg-Tac1tm1Bbm/J (TAC1-KO) male mice were used. 5 M NaCl was topically applied on the cornea, followed by topical fosaprepitant 2, 10, and 50 mg/mL; 4 mg/mL oxybuprocaine chloride, or 0.1% diclofenac. Th eye wiping test was used to quantify ocular surface pain. SP content was quantified in the tear fluid and trigeminal ganglia (TG), and TAC1 mRNA was assessed in the cornea. Corneas were immunostained for β3-tubulin and NK1R, or CD45, to quantify leukocyte infiltration.
TAC1-KO mice displayed a significant reduction of ocular pain (P < 0.001). Similarly, a single dose of 10 or 50 mg/mL fosaprepitant applied topically to WT mice reduced ocular pain as compared to vehicle (P < 0.001). Fosaprepitant 2 mg/mL, instead, induced corneal analgesia only when it was administered for 10 days, 6 times/day (P < 0.05). Diclofenac or oxybuprocaine reduced corneal nociception when compared to vehicle or fosaprepitant (P < 0.05). Fosaprepitant or oxybuprocaine groups showed lower SP content in tear secretions and TG (P < 0.05), and reduction in TAC1 mRNA (P < 0.05), and leukocyte infiltration (P < 0.05) in the cornea. Colocalization of NK1R and β3-tubulin was detected in mouse corneas.
Topical administration of the NK1R antagonist fosaprepitant effectively reduces ocular surface nociception by decreasing SP release in the tear fluid and TG, and corneal leukocyte infiltration. Fosaprepitant repurposing shows promise for the treatment of ocular pain.
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