The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of topical application of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) for the treatment of corneal neovascularization in a rabbit model.
Corneal neovascularization was induced in 12 rabbits by placing a black silk suture in the corneal stroma (24 eyes) for a week. After suturing, 1 randomly chosen eye of the 12 rabbits was treated with topical EGCG at 2 different concentrations: 0.01% (group 1) and 0.1% (group 2), whereas the contralateral eyes were treated with sterilized balanced salt solution as the control. All eye drops were applied for 2 weeks after suturing. The suture materials were removed from all eyes on day 7. The surface area of corneal neovascularization was measured and analyzed in all eyes on days 7 and 14. On day 14, all eyes were extracted to measure the concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) messenger RNA and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein.
The surface area of induced corneal neovascularization was significantly smaller only in group 2 compared with that of the control group on days 7 and 14 (P < 0.001). The change in surface area of corneal neovascularization after removal of the suture material was not significantly different between all 3 groups. VEGF messenger RNA levels were significantly lower in group 2 than in the control group (P < 0.001). The concentration of COX-2 was significantly lower in group 2 than in the control group (P = 0.043), but no significant difference was observed between group 1 and the control group.
Topical administration of EGCG effectively inhibits corneal neovascularization in rabbits. This inhibitory effect is probably related to the suppression of VEGF and COX-2 meditated angiogenesis.