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Bevacizumab Eye Drop Treatment Stimulates Tear Secretion in Rats Through Changes in VEGF and NGF Lacrimal Gland Levels

Simona Rossi, Flavio Mantelli, Alessandro Lambiase, Luigi Aloe


VEGF and NGF are known to modulate corneal healing, neovascularisation and tear secretion. While a VEGF-NGF cross talk has been recently shown to modulate corneal healing in rats, it is not known whether it also plays a role in the regulation of lacrimal function. In this study we aim to investigate the effects of anti–VEGF eye drop treatment on lacrimal gland function and on the local expression of VEGF and NGF in rats. Tear function was measured in 3 months old rats by modified Schirmer test at baseline and after 3 weeks of topical anti-VEGF eye drop treatment. Whole lacrimal glands from rats were removed after treatment and analysed by ELISA for VEGF and NGF levels. To investigate if the effects of anti-VEGF were mediated by changes in the NGF-pathway, we repeated the experiments in RCS rats, a strain with NGF-pathway impairment associated with decreased tear flow. After topical treatment with anti-VEGF eye drops, an increase in tear secretion was observed in both wild-type and RCS rats. A significant decrease of VEGF levels was also observed in lacrimal glands of both RCS and SD rats, accompanied by a significant increase in NGF levels. Inhibition of VEGF at the ocular surface in rats results in changes of tear function and lacrimal gland levels of VEGF and NGF. Further studies on the VEGF/NGF cross-talk at the ocular surface may expand our knowledge on the pathogenesis of several diseases characterized by tear dysfunction.


bevacizumab; VEGF; NGF; tear; lacrimal gland

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