Albumin precursor and Hsp70 modulate corneal wound healing in an organ culture model

Shamim Mushtaq, Aga Khan University
Zulfiqar Ali Naqvi, Aga Khan University
Anwar Ali Siddiqui
Nikhat Ahmed


In order to investigate the role of albumin precursor and Hsp70 in corneal wound healing, we have analyzed the distribution of these proteins in wounded and non-wounded corneas of rabbits and the effects of topical applications of anti-albumin precursor and anti-Hsp70 antibodies on wound healing. Anti-albumin precursor and anti-Hsp70 antibodies were topically applied in healing corneal epithelium of rabbit eyes in organ culture. Corneas were allowed to heal in vitro for up to 120 h in serum-free medium with 5 and 10 mu g/ml or without (migrating control) anti-albumin precursor/ or anti-Hsp70 antibodies. Fibronectin (Fb) (5 mu g/ml) was used as a positive control. Immunofluorescence labelling was used to detect proteins in corneal epithelium at various time intervals following an epithelial defect. Delay in wound healing (p < 0.005) was observed with 10 mu g/ml anti-albumin antibody labelling. A similar pattern was observed when anti-fibronectin antibody (5 mu g/ml) alone and in combination with anti-albumin (10 mu g/ml) was ectopically added with wound closure occurring at 120 h . However with anti-Hsp70 antibody (5 mu g/ml) slightly delayed (p < 0.005) wound closure was observed at 96 h and considerable retardation > 120 h with 10 mu g/ml. Additionally, immunofluoresence showed a strong colocalization of Hsp70 and albumin precursor during the active phase of wound healing. The presence of albumin precursor and Hsp70 in the epithelial compartment of the cornea indicates a role for these proteins in modulating cell behavior such as epithelial growth, adhesion or regeneration, thus contributing to corneal epithelial wound healing.