From the Department of Ophthalmology (M.Y.), Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan; and the Departments of Ophthalmology (M.Y., A.D.P.) and Pathology (A.D.P.), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Yamada, Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, Japan. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background. We previously found that the inhibition of lipoxygenases resulted in delayed epithelial wound closure in organ-cultured rat corneas. The present study was undertaken to determine the lipoxygenase enzyme and metabolite(s) responsible for regulating reepithelialization and their mechanism of action.
Methods. The effects of esculetin-an established lipoxygenase inhibitor-on endogenous hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETEs) production, epithelial wound closure, filamentous-actin (F-actin) cytoskeleton, and mitotic rate were investigated using a cell-culture assay and an organ-culture assay of rat corneal epithelium.
Results. Lipoxygenase inhibition by esculetin, which resulted in the disruption of F-actin organization and a decrease in the mitotic rate, delayed wound closure in both cell- and organ-culture assays. Normal corneoscleral rims metabolized [3H]arachidonic acid to 12-HETE (major metabolite), 8-HETE, and 9-HETE. HETE synthesis was inhibited by esculetin in a dose-dependent fashion. Chiral-phase analysis revealed that they contained only (S)-enantiomers, which indicated that they were lipoxygenase metabolites. The inhibitory effects of esculetin on F-actin organization and epithelial wound closure in an organ-culture assay were totally reversed by exogenously added 8(S)-HETE, whereas 12- and 9-HETE had no effect. However, none of the HETEs reversed the decreased mitotic rate or achieved complete wound closure in the cell-culture assay.
Conclusions. These results suggest that 8(S)-HETE is the key metabolite of arachidonic acid that regulates corneal epithelial cell migration during wound healing. The metabolite responsible for cell proliferation remains to be determined.