Metal Oxide Engineered Nanomaterials Modulate Rabbit Corneal Fibroblast to Myofibroblast Transformation

Atsuhiko Fukuto, Soohyun Kim, Jennifer Kang, Brooke L. Gates, Maggie W. Chang, Kent E. Pinkerton, Laura S Van Winkle, Yoshiaki Kiuchi, Christopher J Murphy, Brian C Leonard, Sara M. Thomasy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Corneal keratocyte-fibroblast-myofibroblast (KFM) transformation plays a critical role in corneal stromal wound healing. However, the impact of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), found in an increasing number of commercial products, on this process is poorly studied. This study investigates the effects of metal oxide ENMs on KFM transformation in vitro and in vivo. Methods: Cell viability of rabbit corneal fibroblasts (RCFs) was tested following treatment with 11 metal oxide ENMs at concentrations of 0.5 to 250 µg/ml for 24 hours. Messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression of αSMA, a marker of myofibroblast transformation, were measured using RCFs after exposure to 11 metal oxide ENMs at a concentration that did not affect cell viability, in media containing either 0 or 10 ng/ml of TGF-β1. Additionally, the effect of topical Fe2O3 nanoparticles (NPs) (50 ng/ml) on corneal stromal wound healing following phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) was determined. Results: V2O5, Fe2O3, CuO, and ZnO ENMs were found to significantly reduce cell viability as compared to vehicle control and the other seven metal oxide ENMs tested. V2O5 nanoflakes significantly reduced mRNA and protein αSMA concentrations in the presence of TGF-β1. Fe2O3 NPs significantly increased αSMA mRNA expression in the presence of TGF-β1 but did not alter αSMA protein expression. Topically applied Fe2O3 NPs in an in vivo rabbit corneal stromal wound healing model did not delay healing. Conclusions: Fe2O3 NPs promote corneal myofibroblast induction in vitro but do not impair corneal stromal wound healing in vivo. Translational Relevance: These experimental results can apply to human nanomedical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23
Number of pages1
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 4 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Metal Oxide Engineered Nanomaterials Modulate Rabbit Corneal Fibroblast to Myofibroblast Transformation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this