Trefoil peptides promote restitution of wounded corneal epithelial cells

Michael N. Göke, Jeffery R. Cook, Kathleen S. Kunert, M. Elizabeth Fini, Ilene K. Gipson, Daniel K. Podolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The ocular surface shares many characteristics with mucosal surfaces. In both, healing is regulated by peptide growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular matrix proteins. However, these factors are not sufficient to ensure most rapid healing. Trefoil peptides are abundantly expressed epithelial cell products which exert protective effects and are key regulators of gastrointestinal epithelial restitution, the critical early phase of cell migration after mucosal injury. To assess the role of trefoil peptides in corneal epithelial wound healing, the effects of intestinal trefoil factor (ITF/TFF3) and spasmolytic polypeptide (SP/TFF2) on migration and proliferation of corneal epithelial cells were analyzed. Both ITF and SP enhanced restitution of primary rabbit corneal epithelial cells in vitro. While the restitution-enhancing effects of TGF-α and TGF-β were both inhibited by neutralizing anti-TGF-β-antibodies, trefoil peptide stimulation of restitution was not. Neither trefoil peptide significantly affected proliferation of primary corneal epithelial cells. ITF but not SP or pS2 mRNA was present in rabbit corneal and conjunctival tissues. In summary, the data indicate an unanticipated role of trefoil peptides in healing of ocular surface and demand rating their functional actions beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001


  • Cell migration
  • Corneal wound healing
  • Ocular surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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