The available treatment options include corneal transplantation for significant corneal defects and opacity. However, shortage of donor corneas and safety issues in performing corneal transplantation are the main limitations. Accordingly, we adopted the injectable in situ-forming hydrogels of collagen type I crosslinked via multifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG)-N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) for treatment and evaluated in vivo biocompatibility. The New Zealand White rabbits (N = 20) were randomly grouped into the keratectomy-only and keratectomy with PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated groups. Samples were processed for immunohistochemical evaluation. In both clinical and histologic observations, epithelial cells were able to migrate and form multilayers over the PEG-collagen hydrogels at the site of the corneal stromal defect. There was no evidence of inflammatory or immunological reactions or increased IOP for PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated corneas during the four weeks of observation. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in the superior corneal stroma of the keratectomy-only group (indicative of fibrotic healing), whereas low stromal α-SMA expression was detected in the keratectomy with PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated group. Taken together, we suggest that PEG-collagen may be used as a safe and effective alternative in treating corneal defect in clinical setting.
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Dec|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (2019R1F1A1061421), a grant from the Catholic University Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital in the program year of 2020 and a grant of translational R&D project through institute for Bio-Medical convergence, Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea.
© 2021, The Author(s).
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