The effect of topical substance-p plus insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on epithelial healing after photorefractive keratectomy in rabbits

Zahra Ghiasi, Tracy Gray, Phat Tran, Richard Dubielzig, Christopher J Murphy, David L. McCartney, Ted W. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether topical Substance-P (SP) plus insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) can improve corneal healing after photorefractive surface ablation in a rabbit. Methods: After a 9.0-mm corneal de-epithelialization using a combination of chemical (18% alcohol) and mechanical debridement, excimer photorefractive surface ablation was performed bilaterally in eight rabbits (16 eyes) with an 8.0-mm ablation zone and 70-μm depth. The right eye was treated with SP (250 μg/mL) and IGF-1 (25 ng/mL) in hyaluronic acid, one drop twice a day, and the other eye treated with only hyaluronic acid. The epithelial healing process was documented photographically twice a day until healing was complete. Six rabbits were sacrificed 6 weeks after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and corneas examined histologically. Results: Seven of eight rabbit eyes treated with SP/IGF-1 healed in a shorter time than the untreated eye. For rabbit #6, both eyes healed at the same time. The average healing time (total time until wound closure) for the treated eyes was 99 hours, while the average healing time for the untreated eyes was 170 hours (P = 0.0490). A persistent epithelial defect was found in two of the nontreated eyes but none in the treated eyes. Corneal pathology showed some degree of epithelial separation in the central corneal wound in three out of six nontreated eyes and in just the treated eye of rabbit #6. Conclusion: Topical SP plus IGF-1 increases the epithelial healing rate after PRK. There may have been beneficial effects upon cell adhesion as well. Translational Relevance: Better and faster healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • IGF-1
  • Photorefractive keratectomy
  • Substance P
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Biomedical Engineering

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