Therapeutic effects of zerumbone in an alkali-burned corneal wound healing model
Cornea is an avascular transparent tissue. Ocular trauma caused by a corneal alkali burn induces corneal neovascularization (CNV), inflammation, and fibrosis, leading to vision loss. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Zerumbone (ZER) on corneal wound healing caused by alkali burns in mice. CNV was induced by alkali-burn injury in BALB/C female mice. Topical ZER (three times per day, 3 μl each time, at concentrations of 5, 15, and 30 μM) was applied to treat alkali-burned mouse corneas for 14 consecutive days. Histopathologically, ZER treatment suppressed alkali burn-induced CNV and decreased corneal epithelial defects induced by alkali burns. Corneal tissue treated with ZER showed reduced mRNA levels of pro-angiogenic genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-2 and 9, and pro-fibrotic factors such as alpha smooth muscle actin and transforming growth factor-1 and 2. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that the infiltration of F4/80 and/or CCR2 positive cells was significantly decreased in ZER-treated corneas. ZER markedly inhibited the mRNA and protein levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in human corneal fibroblasts and murine peritoneal macrophages. Immunoblot analysis revealed that ZER decreased the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), with consequent reduction of MCP-1 production by these cells. In conclusion, topical administration of ZER accelerated corneal wound healing by inhibition of STAT3 and MCP-1 production.