Comparative study of tacrolimus and bevacizumab on corneal neovascularization in rabbits.

PMID 25651492


To compare the antiangiogenic effects of tacrolimus and bevacizumab on corneal neovascularization (CNV) in rabbits. Neovascularization was induced in 32 eyes of 16 rabbits by placing a suture in the corneal stroma. Seven days after suture placement, all rabbits were divided into 4 groups and were treated subconjunctivally with bevacizumab (AVA_sub) 0.05 mL (5 mg/0.05 mL), tacrolimus (TAC_sub) 0.05 mL (0.25 mg/0.05 mL), balanced salt solution (0.05 mL was subconjunctivally injected in 1 eye of each rabbit and applied by eye drops in the other eyes, control group), and tacrolimus eye drops (TAC_drop) (5 mg/5 mL applied 4 times daily). Digital photographs were obtained and surface area of CNV was measured 7 days after subconjunctival injections. Corneal specimens were analyzed histopathologically and were used to measure the concentration of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 mRNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In digital photographs, the neovascularized area was decreased in all treatment groups (AVA_sub, 0.58; TAC_sub, 0.60; TAC_drop, 0.68) compared with the control group (balanced salt solution, 0.81). Histological examination showed markedly regressed new vessels in treatment groups, and immunohistochemical staining revealed weakly stained anti-VEGF and anti-F4/80 antibodies in treatment groups. In semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, concentration of VEGF (AVA_sub, 0.24; TAC_drop, 0.18), TNF-α (AVA_sub, 0.19; TAC_sub, 0.24; TAC_drop 0.15), and IL-1β (AVA_sub, 0.19; TAC_sub, 0.33; TAC_drop, 0.18) mRNA were significantly lower in treatment groups than in the control group (VEGF, 0.47; TNF-α, 0.44; IL-1β, 0.87) (P < 0.05). Topical and subconjunctival tacrolimus application may be useful in reducing CNV and have comparable effects to subconjunctival bevacizumab injection.