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Andrea Naranjo, Gabriella Maria Fernandes Cunha, David Myung; Effect of hepatocyte growth factor-loaded collagen-PEG gels on corneal wound healing.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):3652 – A0217.
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Corneal injuries can lead to infection, scarring, and significant vision loss. There continues to be a clinical need for better ways to facilitate rapid and phenotypically normal corneal wound healing after injury or disease. Numerous growth factors, including hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), are secreted by the native cornea following injury to facilitate healing. Recently, exogenous HGF has been shown to enhance corneal wound healing. Hydrogel matrices have also been shown to be a promising approach to providing a substrate that supports corneal healing. Here, we evaluate the sustained release of HGF from a collagen gel crosslinked in situ by a multi-functional PEG crosslinker.
A corneal epithelial cell (CEC) migration essay was performed comparing a negative control (plain medium) and a positive control (10% FBS) with PEG-collagen gel (8-arm PEG-N-hydroxysuccinimide) with and without HGF as well as free, soluble HGF. The cells were monitored for 24 hours and immunofluorescence was performed on the treated cells to evaluate for the expression of phalloidin, Ki-67, CD44, and ZO-1.
CECs with HGF-loaded PEG-collagen gels were able to migrate faster and close wounds at a faster rate than the negative control, PEG-collagen gels alone without HGF, and free HGF. Immunofluorescence demonstrated no alteration in morphology as a result of the PEG crosslinker or HGF. An increase in proliferation markers was detected in the cells treated with the HGF-loaded PEG-collagen gels.
PEG-collagen hydrogels loaded with HGF improves corneal cell migration over collagen gels and HGF alone, and are a promising approach to enhancing corneal wound healing. Further work is merited to study this therapeutic construct in vivo.
This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.
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