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Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1982;80:758-822.

Corneal reepithelialization and anti-inflammatory agents.


These studies have demonstrated that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase inhibitors) can inhibit PMN arrival in the tear fluid following corneal injury but do not inhibit the reepithelialization either by corneal epithelial cells or by conjunctival epithelial cells. Therefore, they can be used safely in ocular inflammatory conditions even when corneal epithelial defects are present. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, inhibit reepithelialization by conjunctival epithelial cells and not by corneal epithelial cells in the doses tested. This inhibition does not occur with pretreatment prior to injury, suggesting that corticosteroids can be used clinically in conditions that have intact corneal epithelium without fear of slowing down wound healing should epithelial defects occur when not on steroid therapy. Furthermore, the steroid inhibition is temporary since there is a breakthrough in steroid inhibition with time, and occurs only if the steroids have been used shortly after deepithelialization. The steroid inhibition can be reversed by specific steroid antagonist, indicating that the steroid effect is mediated through specific receptors. An exciting and new hypothesis proposes that corticosteroids induce the formation of an inhibitory protein that inhibits the phospholipase enzyme to cause a block in arachidonic acid release from cell membranes. This mechanism of action may also be prevalent in the steroid effect on corneal reepithelialization, and experiments are under way to isolate this inhibitory protein from steroid-treated conjunctival epithelium. This isolation and pharmacologic characterization of this inhibitory protein is of obvious advantage to the field of ophthalmic therapeutics since this protein may have the anti-inflammatory potential of the steroids without their steroid sideeffects.

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