Transparency of the cornea is indispensable for optimal vision. Ocular trauma is a leading cause of corneal opacity, leading to 25 million cases of blindness annually. Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have gained prominence due to their inflammation-suppressing and tissue repair functions. Here, we investigate the potential of MSCs to restore corneal transparency following ocular injury. Using an in vivo mouse model of ocular injury, we report that MSCs have the capacity to restore corneal transparency by secreting high levels of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Interestingly, our data also show that HGF alone can restore corneal transparency, an observation that has translational implications for the development of HGF-based therapy.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.