Thymosin beta 4 (Tbeta(4)) is a low molecular weight protein present in all cells except erythrocytes. Although Tbeta(4) is the major monomeric actin-sequestering peptide in cells and can depolymerize F-actin, evidence is mounting to support the idea that it has multiple, seemingly diverse, cellular functions. In cornea, as in other tissues, Tbeta(4) promotes cell migration and wound healing, has anti-inflammatory properties, and suppresses apoptosis. In this review we discuss the current state of knowledge regarding the effects of Tbeta(4) in maintaining the healthy, functional cornea. The clinical implications of the use of Tbeta(4) as a wound healing and anti-inflammatory agent are discussed.
Keywords: apoptosis; cell migration; cornea; inflammation; thymosin beta 4; wound healing.