Purpose: The aim of our study was to assess the clinical effectiveness of topical adipose derived stem cell (ADSC) treatment in laser induced corneal wounds in mice by comparing epithelial repair, inflammation and histological analysis between treatment arms. Methods: Corneal lesions were performed on both eyes of 40 mice by laser induced photorefractive keratectomy. All eyes were treated with topical azythromycin bid for 3 days. Mice were divided in three treatment groups (n = 20), which included: Control, stem cells and basic serum; which received topical treatment 3 times daily for 5 consecutive days. Biomicroscope assessments and digital imaging were performed by two masked graders at 30, 54, 78, 100 and 172 h to analyze extent of fluorescein positive epithelial defect, corneal inflammation, etc. Immunohistochemical techniques were used in fixed eyes to assess corneal repair markers Ki67, α Smooth Muscle Actin (α-SMA) and E-Cadherin. Results: The fluorescein positive corneal lesion areas were significantly smaller in the stem cells group on days 1 (p < 0.05), 2 (p < 0.02) and 3. The stem cell treated group had slightly better and faster re-epithelization than the serum treated group in the initial phases. Comparative histological data showed signs of earlier and better corneal repair in epithelium and stromal layers in stem cell treated eyes, which showed more epithelial layers and enhanced wound healing performance of Ki67, E-Cadherin and α-SMA. Conclusions: Our study shows the potential clinical and histological advantages in the topical ADSC treatment for corneal lesions in mice.
Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital of Udine, P.le S. Maria Della Misericordia, 15 33100 Udine, Italy.
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