Carboxymethyl cellulose stimulates rabbit corneal epithelial wound healing

Qian Garrett*, Shunjiang Xu, Peter A. Simmons, Joseph Vehige, Ruo Zhong Xie, Ajay Kumar, Judith L. Flanagan, Zhenjun Zhao, Mark D P Willcox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Previously, we reported carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) binding to human corneal epithelial cells and promoting corneal epithelial wound closure in vitro. Using an animal model, the efficacy of CMC in promoting corneal wound healing was examined. Materials and Methods: Following corneal epithelial wounding of NZ white rabbits, CMC (0.2% or 1.0%) or control vehicle (PBS) was administered topically (4 times daily for 3 days) to wounded and unwounded eyes with or without contact lens wear. Wound healing in response to the treatments was measured as percentage reduction of fluorescein-stained wound area 0 to 72 hr post-wounding. Corneas were examined histologically and expression of zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) tight-junction was detected by immunohistochemistry. Results: Percentage wound reduction in CMC-treated groups was significantly greater than controls (p < 0.05) at 24 and 32 hr. Complete wound closure was observed by 48 hr in 100% of CMC-treated eyes compared to 45% of vehicle-treated eyes. CMC also promoted wound closure dose-dependently. Epithelial cells formed an intact layer following CMC-treatment whereas vehicle-treated cells were less ordered. Strong ZO-1 expression in corneal epithelia of CMC-treated eyes was observed at 72 hr. Contact lens wear appeared to delay wound closure compared to without lens wear during CMC-treatment (p = 0.001). Conclusions: CMC promoted dose-dependent corneal epithelial wound healing. CMC stimulated ZO-1 expression, indicating accelerated corneal epithelial resistance barrier regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


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