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Suneel Gupta, Nishant R. Sinha, Lynn M. Martin, Landon M. Keele, Prashant R. Sinha, Jason T. Rodier, James R. Landreneau, Nathan P. Hesemann, Rajiv R. Mohan; Long-Term Safety and Tolerability of BMP7 and HGF Gene Overexpression in Rabbit Cornea. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(10):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.10.6.
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Tissue-targeted localized BMP7+HGF genes delivered into the stroma via nanoparticle effectively treats corneal fibrosis and rehabilitates transparency in vivo without acute toxicity. This study evaluated the long-term safety and tolerability of BMP7+HGF nanomedicine for the eye in vivo.
One eye each of 36 rabbits received balanced salt solution (group 1, naïve; n = 12), naked vector with polyethylenimine-conjugated gold nanoparticles (PEI2-GNP; group 2, naked-vector; n = 12), or BMP7+HGF genes with PEI2-GNP (group 3, BMP7+HGF; n = 12) via a topical delivery technique. Safety and tolerability measurements were performed by clinical biomicroscopy in live rabbits at predetermined time intervals up to 7 months. Corneal tissues were collected at 2 months and 7 months after treatment and subjected to histology, immunofluorescence, and quantitative real-time PCR analyses.
Clinical ophthalmic examinations and modified MacDonald–Shadduck scores showed no significant changes in corneal thickness (P = 0.3389), tear flow (P = 0.2121), intraocular pressure (P = 0.9958), epithelial abrasion, or ocular abnormality. Slit-lamp, stereo, confocal, and specular biomicroscopy showed no signs of blepharospasm chemosis, erythema, epiphora, abnormal ocular discharge, or changes in epithelium, stroma, and endothelium after BMP7+HGF therapy for up to 7 months, as compared with control groups. Throughout the 7-month period, no significant changes were recorded in endothelial density (P = 0.9581). Histological and molecular data were well corroborated with the subjective clinical analyses and showed no differences in the naïve, naked-vector, and BMP7+HGF groups.
Localized BMP7+HGF therapy is a safe, tolerable, and innovative modality for the treatment of corneal fibrosis.
Nanoparticle-mediated BMP7+HGF combination gene therapy has the potential to treat corneal fibrosis in vivo without short- or long-term toxicity.
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