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This article is the author's final published version in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 24, Issue 17, 2023, Article number 13438.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Highly organized collagen fibrils interlacing with proteoglycans form the crucial architecture of the cornea and facilitate its transparency. Corneal scarring from accidental injury, surgery, or infection alters this highly organized tissue, causing severe consequences, including blindness. There are no pharmacological or surgical methods to effectively and safely treat excessive corneal scarring. Thus, we tested the anticorneal scarring utility of a rationally designed anticollagen antibody (ACA) whose antifibrotic effects have already been demonstrated in nonocular models. Utilizing a rabbit model with an incisional corneal wound, we analyzed ACA’s effects on forming collagen and proteoglycan-rich extracellular matrices in scar neotissue. We used microscopic and spectroscopic techniques to quantify these components and measure crucial parameters characterizing the structure and organization of collagen fibrils. Moreover, we analyzed the spatial distribution of collagen and proteoglycans in normal and healing corneas. Our study demonstrated significant changes in the quality and quantity of the analyzed molecules synthesized in scar neotissue. It showed that these changes extend beyond incision margins. It also showed ACA’s positive impact on some crucial parameters defining proper cornea structure. This pilot study provides a stepping stone for future tests of therapeutic approaches that target corneal extracellular scar matrix assembly.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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