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Guoying Liu, Tan Li, Benxiang Qi, Ganyu Gong, Tengyou Guo, Qingjun Zhou, Vishal Jhanji, Bi Ning Zhang, Xianli Du; Norepinephrine as an Enhancer Promoting Corneal Penetration of Riboflavin for Transepithelial Corneal Crosslinking. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2023;12(2):21. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.2.21.
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Previously, we found norepinephrine (NE) could affect the corneal epithelial integrity, herein we investigated the feasibility and safety of NE serving as a chemical enhancer to promote corneal penetration of riboflavin during transepithelial corneal crosslinking (CXL).
The dosage of NE that could promote riboflavin diffusion through the healthy epithelial barrier without inducing epithelial damage in C57BL/6 mice was determined. The safety of NE treatment was confirmed by morphological and histological examinations of the whole cornea. The efficacy of NE in promoting riboflavin penetration was verified by slit lamp and scanning electron microscope (SEM), and corneal biomechanical measurement after CXL. To better fit the clinical scenario, increased NE dosage and shortened riboflavin infiltration time were further evaluated.
The lowest dosage of NE (1 mg/mL) that facilitated transepithelial riboflavin permeation was 2 µL. No visible corneal structure alteration was observed after NE treatment. SEM indicated dissociation of intercellular junctions among corneal epithelial cells. Homogenous distribution of riboflavin throughout corneal stroma was observed. NE-treated corneas reached comparable biomechanical properties after CXL, including stress-relaxation curve and elastic modulus, with corneas treated with the commercially available transepithelial drug Peschke TE. To better fit the clinical scenario, increasing NE up to 5.5 µL helped riboflavin infiltrate the corneal stroma within 30 minutes. After CXL with 9 mW/cm2 ultraviolet-A (UVA) for 2.5 minutes, the cornea showed significantly enhanced corneal biomechanical properties with undisturbed corneal endothelium.
NE serves as an effective enhancer in increasing riboflavin diffusion with limited impairment on corneal epithelium and has great potential for clinical application.
NE serves as an effective enhancer for riboflavin penetration and clinical transepithelial CXL.
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