Objective: Single-dose subconjunctival platelet-rich plasma (sPRP) injections with or without antibiotic treatment were investigated for their effect on corneal epithelial wound healing in a rabbit model.
Materials and methods: A total of 24 rabbits were used in this study. After collecting intracardiac blood samples from 16 rabbits, platelet-rich plasma was obtained by centrifugation. Animals were divided into 3 groups. A mechanical corneal epithelial defect of 7-mm diameter was created on the central cornea of the right eye of each animal. Group 1 (n = 8) received only sPRP, whereas group 2 (n = 8) received sPRP with topical antibiotic throughout the study. The third group (n = 8) served as the control group. Each animal was examined daily under biomicroscope for 10 days. Epithelial defect was measured in horizontal and vertical diameter with a 1/100 sensitive micrometer, and area of the defect was calculated. One animal was sacrificed in each group on the third and seventh day, and all remaining animals were sacrificed on the 10th day. Corneal histopathology was investigated for epithelial regeneration, presence of inflammation, and structural integrity of fibroblasts. All data were statistically analyzed for difference between the study groups.
Results: Group 1 had a significantly smaller size in horizontal and vertical defect diameters on each day as compared with the control group. Healing of the epithelial defect in group 1 was found to be significantly different than that in the control group (P < 0.05). No significant difference was observed between group 2 and control group except for the first day. Group 1 had a significantly better healing process after the fourth day as compared with group 2. Histopathological investigations revealed a steady fibroblast migration, quicker epithelial regeneration, and less inflammation in group 1 as compared with the other 2 groups.
Discussion and conclusions: sPRP seems to improve corneal epithelial wound healing. However, antibiotic and sPRP combination may have a retarded healing effect as compared with platelet-rich plasma alone.