Purpose: This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of recombinant human epidermal growth factor (rhEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) on corneal wound healing and neovascularization (CNV). Methods: The positive effects of 10 ng/ml rhEGF and bFGF on the proliferation of corneal epithelial cells (SD-HCEC1s), rabbit keratocyte cells (RKCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) as well as the effects on the migration capacity on HUVECs were observed. An animal central corneal wound and CNV model was established in rabbits. One eye of each group was chosen randomly for topical administration of rhEGF, bFGF or normal saline, and variability in the area of corneal epithelial wound healing and CNV was observed. Results: The optimal concentration of rhEGF and bFGF for the proliferation of corneal epithelial cells was 10 ng/ml. The promotive effect of 10 ng/ml rhEGF on the proliferation of RKCs and HUVECs was less than that of 10 ng/ml bFGF. In the animal experiment, the healing rate of the corneal epithelium in the rhEGF group was better than in the other groups on day 1. On day 3, the healing rates of the 3 groups were nearly equal. The CNV area in the rhEGF group was less than that of the bFGF group. Conclusions: rhEGF and bFGF both had promotive effects on corneal epithelial wound healing, but rhEGF had a weaker promotive effect on CNV than bFGF. With long-term application of growth factor drugs, rhEGF is suggested for lessening the growth of CNV.

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