Growth factors: importance in wound healing and maintenance of transparency of the cornea

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2000 Jan;19(1):113-29. doi: 10.1016/s1350-9462(99)00007-5.


The mechanism of corneal wound healing has not been clarified yet. However, evidence has accumulated that various kinds of growth factor such as epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) play a key role in corneal wound healing. For example, these growth factors are expressed in the corneal epithelial cells, keratocytes and endothelial cells, and their receptors are expressed in the corneal cells. Furthermore, these growth factors promote the proliferation of corneal cells and induce the migration of corneal cells. In addition to the growth factors, inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha are involved in corneal wound healing. These cytokines are expressed in the normal and inflammatory cornea after infections, alkaliburn, etc. where they control the growth of corneal cells and induce the migration of corneal cells. Thus, a number of growth factors and cytokines function in the regulation of corneal cell proliferation and in the maintenance of corneal transparency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Corneal Injuries*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / physiology
  • Growth Substances / genetics
  • Growth Substances / physiology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Cytokines
  • Growth Substances
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Epidermal Growth Factor