Objective: To evaluate the effects of agents on corneal re-epithelization and metalloproteinase-2 and metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-2 and MMP-9) activities in corneas of rats submitted to ulceration. Animals Studied: Ninety eight healthy rats. Procedures: Corneal ulcers were created using 1N NaOH in their left eye. Eyes were treated every 6 h with 1% ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), 3% chondroitin sulfate (CS), 10% N-acetylcysteine NAc and saline (S) at 6-h intervals. Corneas were stained with fluorescein and photographed at the same time points. Following 20 h and 40-42 h of corneal injury, corneas were processed for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to quantify microvilli density, and MMPs activities were analyzed using zymography. Results: The percentage of wound area and the time in hours for corneal re-epithelization did not differ significantly among treatment groups (P > 0.05). In first and the second moments, latent MMP-2 was significantly elevated in the eyes treated with NAC and CS (P < 0.001). Active MMP-2 did not change significantly among treatment groups in the first moment (P > 0.05); significantly higher activity was observed in the second moment in the eyes treated with CS (P <0.001). In the second moment, latent MMP-9 decreased significantly in eyes treated with EDTA and S (P < 0.01). Microvilli corneal density did not change significantly between healthy subjects and treatment groups (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Any of the studied substances did not accelerate corneal re-epithelization and did not add protection to the corneal microvilli. Significant higher levels of active form of MMP-2 in 3% chondroitin sulfate-treated group may indicate that the agent acts as substrate for such enzyme. At the end of the experiment, 1% EDTA was the most efficient agent to inhibit significantly the latent form of MMP-9. However, any of the substances add benefit over saline on reducing the proteolytic activity in the cornea of rats after alkali injury.
- Ulcerative keratitis
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