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Keywords:

  • bevacizumab;
  • corneal angiogenesis;
  • corneal neovascularization;
  • vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)

Abstract

Background:  New and uncontrolled blood vessel development in the cornea is a pivotal process in the pathogenesis of several corneal diseases. These corneal diseases may finally cause blindness and managing them therapeutically is problematic. The data supporting a causal role for vascular endothelial growth factor in corneal neovascularization are extensive. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of subconjunctival bevacizumab (Avastin) on experimental corneal neovascularization in rabbits.

Methods:  Chemical cauterization of the cornea was performed by touching central cornea with a 5-mm-diameter NaOH-soaked cotton applicator for 10 s in 20 eyes of 20 White New Zealand rabbits. The rabbits were then divided randomly into two equal groups. Bevacizumab (2.5 mg) was administered to 10 eyes (group 1) by a subconjunctival injection immediately after chemical cauterization of corneal surface. As a control, 10 eyes (group 2) received an injection of distilled water. Rabbits were examined daily for detection of the first signs of neovascularization. Three weeks later, the extent of corneal neovascularization was evaluated by direct examination and photograph analyses. Total corneal neovascularization area, degree of circumference involved and longest neovascular pedicle length were assessed.

Results:  Bevacizumab significantly decreased the total neovascularization area (P < 0.009), the circumference involved (P < 0.011) and the longest neovascular pedicle length (P < 0.023).

Conclusion:  Local injection of bevacizumab has a significant effect on inhibition of alkali burn-induced corneal neovascularization. This shows the potential value of bevacizumab in the treatment of corneal neovascularization.