Corneal sensory nerve fibers exert important trophic effects on the corneal epithelium, stimulate epithelial mitogenesis, and accelerate wound healing after corneal injuries. The mechanisms by which the nerves exert these effects are unknown; however, the release of axonally transported neuropeptides has been hypothesized. In the current application, we propose: 1) to study the ability of six different neuropeptides, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP), galanin (GAL), neuropeptide Y (NPY), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), and met-enkephalin (met-ENK) to stimulate epithelial mitogenesis in normal rat corneas, 2) to study the ability of the aforementioned neuropeptides to stimulate epithelial mitogenesis in wounded rat corneas, 3) to determine the effects of unilateral corneal injury on neuropeptide expression (up-regulation, down-regulation, or alteration) in ipsilateral corneal nerve fibers, and 4) to determine the effects of unilateral corneal injury on neuropeptide expression in contralateral corneal nerve fibers. The long term objectives of this continuing research program are to increase our understanding of the neurochemistry, plasticity, an trophic functions of corneal nerves and to test the hypothesis that certain neuropeptides synthesized and transported within corneal nerves may be used therapeutically to stimulate wound healing following corneal injuries.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
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Visual Sciences A Study Section (VISA)
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Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Marfurt, C F; Ellis, L C (1993) Immunohistochemical localization of tyrosine hydroxylase in corneal nerves. J Comp Neurol 336:517-31
Marfurt, C F; Ellis, L C; Jones, M A (1993) Sensory and sympathetic nerve sprouting in the rat cornea following neonatal administration of capsaicin. Somatosens Mot Res 10:377-98
Jones, M A; Marfurt, C F (1991) Calcitonin gene-related peptide and corneal innervation: a developmental study in the rat. J Comp Neurol 313:132-50
Marfurt, C F; Echtenkamp, S F (1991) Sensory innervation of the rat kidney and ureter as revealed by the anterograde transport of wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) from dorsal root ganglia. J Comp Neurol 311:389-404
Keller, J T; Marfurt, C F (1991) Peptidergic and serotoninergic innervation of the rat dura mater. J Comp Neurol 309:515-34
Marfurt, C F; Rajchert, D M (1991) Trigeminal primary afferent projections to ""non-trigeminal"" areas of the rat central nervous system. J Comp Neurol 303:489-511
Kingsley, R E; Dant, J (1991) A fast, simple method for preparing flat semi-thin sections from epoxy embedded materials. J Electron Microsc Tech 18:209
Turner, D F; Marfurt, C F; Sattelberg, C (1989) Demonstration of physiological barrier between pulpal odontoblasts and its perturbation following routine restorative procedures: a horseradish peroxidase tracing study in the rat. J Dent Res 68:1262-8
Marfurt, C F; Kingsley, R E; Echtenkamp, S E (1989) Sensory and sympathetic innervation of the mammalian cornea. A retrograde tracing study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 30:461-72
Marfurt, C F; Turner, D F; Adams, C E (1988) Stabilization of tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) reaction product at the electron microscopic level by ammonium molybdate. J Neurosci Methods 25:215-23

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