Clinical application of nerve growth factor on human corneal ulcer.

A. Lambiase, L. Manni, P. Rama, S. Bonini


Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neurotrophic and immunomodulatory factor contributing of the control of cutaneous morphogenesis, wound healing and inflammatory responses. Following the evidence that topical administration of NGF leads to healing of human corneal ulcers, we investigate the therapeutic action of NGF on immune and/or autoimmune cutaneous ulcers. We found that 1-10 micrograms of highly purified murine NGF dissolved in 50 microliters of physiological solution and topically applied to skin ulcer leads, after 4-12 weeks of daily treatment (depending on the size and depth of the lesion) to complete healing of the ulcer. Thus, NGF was able to promote complete repair in human skin and corneal ulcers which were poorly or non-responsive to conventional topical and systemic treatments. No side effects were observed and a follow up after 4 months showed no signs of relapse. These findings indicate that failure of cutaneous tissues to produce sufficient amounts of NGF might represent a prominent mechanism implicated in the clinical manifestation of ocular ulcers.

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