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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Apr 3;54(4):2493-502. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11320.

The ROCK inhibitor eye drop accelerates corneal endothelium wound healing.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.



To evaluate the effect of Rho kinase (ROCK)-inhibitor eye drops on a corneal endothelial dysfunction primate model and human clinical case series of corneal endothelial dysfunction.


As a corneal-endothelial partially injured model, the corneal endothelium of seven cynomolgus monkeys was damaged by transcorneal freezing; 10 mm of rock inhibitor Y-27632 was then applied topically 6 times daily. The phenotype of the reconstructed corneal endothelium was evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis and noncontact specular microscopy. For clinical study, the effect of Y-27632 eye drops after transcorneal freezing was evaluated in eight corneal endothelial dysfunction patients: four central corneal edema patients and four diffuse corneal edema patients.


Slit-lamp microscopy revealed that both Y-27632-treated and -nontreated corneas became hazy after transcorneal freezing, and then recovered their transparency within 4 weeks. ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 promoted recovery of corneal endothelial cell density and wound healing in terms of both morphology and function. The percentage of ZO-1 and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase positive cells in the regenerated area in the Y-27632 group was significantly higher than in the controls. Noncontact specular microscopy revealed that corneal endothelial cell density was significantly higher in the Y-27632 group compared with the controls at 4 weeks; cell density reached approximately 3000 cells/mm(2), as opposed to 1500 cells/mm(2) in the control group. In addition to the animal study findings, the clinical study findings showed that Y-27632 eye drops effectively improved corneal edema of corneal endothelial dysfunction patients with central edema.


These findings show that rock inhibitor Y-27632 eye drops promote corneal endothelial wound healing in a primate animal model and suggest the possibility of Y-27632 as a novel therapeutic modality for certain forms of corneal endothelial dysfunction. ( number, UMIN000003625.).

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