Rebamipide suppresses TNF-α production and macrophage infiltration in the conjunctiva

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To evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of rebamipide during corneal epithelial wound healing using a mouse wound repair model.


A 2-mm circular disc of the central cornea was demarcated in the right eye of C57BL/6 mice and the epithelium removed. Rebamipide 2% eyedrop was instilled onto the wounded eye 5 times a day (n = 26). Phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) was used in the control group (n = 26). Corneal and conjunctival IL-1β and TNF-α levels were measured at 6 h and 24 h postinjury by ELISA. The wounded area was evaluated by fluorescein staining at 24 h postinjury. Macrophage infiltration was assessed immunohistochemically, and TNF-α secretion from macrophages was examined in vitro.


Conjunctival IL-1β and corneal IL-1β levels were not significantly different between PBS-treated and rebamipide-treated groups. However, conjunctival TNF-α level was significantly lower in the rebamipide-treated group compared with the PBS-treated group. Macrophage migration into the conjunctiva, but not into the cornea, was suppressed by rebamipide treatment. In addition, TNF-α secretion from cultured macrophages was suppressed by rebamipide in a concentration-dependent manner. Rebamipide treatment significantly accelerated corneal epithelial wound healing at 24 h postinjury.


In a mouse corneal epithelial wound model, rebamipide suppressed TNF-α secretion and macrophage infiltration in the conjunctiva, which might have contributed to accelerated corneal epithelial wound healing in the first 24 h following injury.

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