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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32128. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032128. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Activation of JNK signaling mediates connective tissue growth factor expression and scar formation in corneal wound healing.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, People's Republic of China.


Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) and Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) are key growth factors in regulating corneal scarring. Although CTGF was induced by TGF-β1 and mediated many of fibroproliferative effects of TGF-β1, the signaling pathway for CTGF production in corneal scarring remains to be clarified. In the present study, we firstly investigated the effects of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) on CTGF expression induce by TGF-β1 in Telomerase-immortalized human cornea stroma fibroblasts (THSF). Then, we created penetrating corneal wound model and determined the effect of JNK in the pathogenesis of corneal scarring. TGF-β1 activated MAPK pathways in THSF cells. JNK inhibitor significantly inhibited CTGF, fibronectin and collagen I expression induced by TGF-β1 in THSF. In corneal wound healing, the JNK inhibitor significantly inhibited CTGF expression, markedly improved the architecture of corneal stroma and reduced corneal scar formation, but did not have a measurable impact on corneal wound healing in vivo. Our results indicate that JNK mediates the expression of CTGF and corneal scarring in corneal wound healing, and might be considered as specific targets of drug therapy for corneal scarring.

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