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2001 Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group, Abstract 4

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The Effect of a Metalloproteinase Inhibitor on Corneal Enzymatic Activity in Experimental Fungal Keratitis
U. Gopinathan1,T. Ramakrishna2, M. Wilcox3 G.K. Vemuganti1, G.N. Rao1
1L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India, 2Center for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, 3The Cooperative Research Center for Eye Research & Technology, Sydney, Australia

Purpose: To achieve best visual outcome in fungal keratitis, a combined approach using antifungal agents and protease inhibitors may be a better treatment modality.

Methods: Fifteen albino rabbits were divided into five groups of three each. Following anesthesia the right corneas of rabbits in all groups were inoculated midstromally with 25µ|l of the Fusarium spore suspension. Left corneas served as the uninoculated control. From day 2 to 14, the right and left corneas of rabbits in each group received the antifungal agent (Natamycin) and the protease inhibitor (CaEDTA) hourly either alone or in combination (Group 1- untreated; Group 2- distilled water; Group 3 - CAEDTA (0.1 M); Group 4 - Natamycin (5%); Group 5 - CAEDTA & Natamycin. The clinical features were documented on alternate days. On day 14, the rabbits were sacrificed and the excised corneas were evaluated by enzymatic, microbiological, and histopathological procedures.

Results: The right corneas of rabbits in group 5 that received a combination therapy revealed low enzymatic activity as compared to corneas in the remaining groups. The enzymatic pattern of corneas in each group correlated positively with the polymorphonuclear cell infiltration and the fungal load.

Conclusions: The results indicate that a combination of an antifungal agent and a metalloproteinase inhibitor would prove a reasonable approach for regulating tissue damage and fungal proliferation simultaneously.

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