Administration of menadione, vitamin K3, ameliorates off-target effects on corneal epithelial wound healing due to receptor tyrosine kinase inhibition

Jamie S. Rush, David P. Bingaman, Paul G. Chaney, Martin B. Wax, Brian P. Ceresa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. The antiangiogenic receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (RTKi), 3-[(4-bromo-2,6-difluorophenyl)methoxy]-5-[[[[4-(1-pyrrolidinyl) butyl] amino] carbonyl]amino]-4-isothiazolecarboxamide hydrochloride, targets VEGFR2 (half maximal inhibitory concentration [IC 50 ] = 11 nM); however, off-target inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) occurs at higher concentrations. (IC 50 = 5.8 μM). This study was designed to determine the effect of topical RTKi treatment on EGF-mediated corneal epithelial wound healing and to develop new strategies to minimize off-target EGFR inhibition. METHODS. In vitro corneal epithelial wound healing was measured in response to EGF using a transformed human cell line (hTCEpi cells). In vivo corneal wound healing was assessed using a murine model. In these complementary assays, wound healing was measured in the presence of varying RTKi concentrations. Immunoblot analysis was used to examine EGFR and VEGFR2 phosphorylation and the kinetics of EGFR degradation. An Alamar Blue assay measured VEGFR2-mediated cell biology. RESULTS. Receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor exposure caused dose-dependent inhibition of EGFR-mediated corneal epithelial wound healing in vitro and in vivo. Nanomolar concentrations of menadione, a vitamin K3 analog, when coadministered with the RTKi, slowed EGFR degradation and ameliorated the inhibitory effects on epithelial wound healing both in vitro and in vivo. Menadione did not alter the RTKi’s IC 50 against VEGFR2 phosphorylation or its inhibition of VEGF-induced retinal endothelial cell proliferation. CONCLUSIONS. An antiangiogenic RTKi exhibited off-target effects on the corneal epithelium that can be minimized by menadione without deleteriously affecting its on-target VEGFR2 blockade. These data indicate that menadione has potential as a topical supplement for individuals suffering from perturbations in corneal epithelial homeostasis, especially as an untoward side effect of kinase inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5864-5871
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number14
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Corneal epithelium
  • EGFR
  • Kinase inhibitor
  • Vitamin K3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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