Decorin: Strengthening the Cornea Without UV Light?
A naturally-occurring proteogylcan, decorin, can effect CXL-like biomechanical changes when applied to ex-vivo human and porcine corneas.
At a Glance
- The most effective form of corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) requires corneal epithelial cell abrasion, riboflavin soaking (30 minutes), constant riboflavin application during UV light exposure for an additional 30 minutes
- Decorin core protein is a naturally-occurring proteoglycan that, when applied to the cornea, could have a similar strengthening and cross-linking effect as UV-A riboflavin CXL
- Some preclinical corneal biomechanical evaluations of decorin core protein have been conducted on pig and donor human corneal pairs
- The results so far are encouraging, with decorin-treated corneas showing similar biomechanical changes to what would be expected with standard UV-A riboflavin CXL treatment
Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) with ultraviolet (UV)-A light and riboflavin is a relatively young procedure that has made a huge impact for the treatment of keratoconus and other corneal ectasias. UV-A light activates riboflavin, producing oxygen radicals that induce the formation of collagen cross-links, mechanically strengthening the cornea, and increasing its resistance to proteases that are upregulated in these corneal diseases.
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