Suppression of lipopolysaccharide-induced corneal opacity by hepatocyte growth factor

Date Published:

2022 Jan 11


Keratitis induced by bacterial toxins, including lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is a major cause of corneal opacity and vision loss. Our previous study demonstrates hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) promotes epithelial wound healing following mechanical corneal injury. Here, we investigated whether HGF has the capacity to suppress infectious inflammatory corneal opacity using a new model of LPS-induced keratitis. Keratitis, induced by two intrastromal injections of LPS on day 1 and 4 in C57BL/6 mice, resulted in significant corneal opacity for up to day 10. Following keratitis induction, corneas were topically treated with 0.1% HGF or PBS thrice daily for 5 days. HGF-treated mice showed a significantly smaller area of corneal opacity compared to PBS-treated mice, thus improving corneal transparency. Moreover, HGF treatment resulted in suppression of α-SMA expression, compared to PBS treatment. HGF-treated corneas showed normalized corneal structure and reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine, demonstrating that HGF restores corneal architecture and immune quiescence in corneas with LPS-induced keratitis. These findings offer novel insight into the potential application of HGF-based therapies for the prevention and treatment of infection-induced corneal opacity.

Last updated on 02/01/2022