Corneal epithelial cells are a unique defense barrier for eyes. Several common factors may compromise their defense—from excessively dry eyes to intense rubbing to wearing of contact lens. Tears have been a useful entity in healing wound, normally; they constantly lubricate. However, in some cases the outer layer may take much time to heal, such as in diabetic patients or autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, this may lead to vision loss or may have lasting consequences.
Vision scientists and research community world over are actively pursuing better ways to help corneal injury heal faster. In a new study the National Eye Institute has funded, a team of researchers from Augusta University found that dioleoyl-phosphatidylglycerol may be a new element that promotes healing. Better shortened as lipid DOPG, they may be novel way to help heal deeper tissue injury.
The Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science has published the findings.
Three-Year Study Funded by Grants to Assess Role of DOPG
They tested the function of DOPG in human cornea cells grown in lab. Also, they tested the effect on mice models. They concluded that DOPG, in a topical application or in eye drops, might help in helping corneal epithelial cells. This is important since corneal epithelial scratches could make eye vulnerable to external infectious agents, opined the scientists. The problem is further compounded by autoimmune diseases, as they cause inflammation to persist for long.
The investigators are on a three-year study to find treatment protocols that utilize DOPG. To help fund their initiative, the National Institutes of Health provided them with $1.14 million grant. They will be focusing on the mechanism by which DOPG works in the cornea, which is currently very poorly understood.