Larch arabinogalactan for dry eye protection and treatment of corneal lesions: investigations in rabbits.
Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the corneal protective and healing properties of arabinogalactan (AG), a natural polysaccharide present in conifers of the genus Larix (Larch). AG was tested in comparison with other two polysaccharides possessing well-established properties in the treatment of dry eye: tamarind seed polysaccharide and hyaluronic acid.
Methods: The AG formulation was subjected to the following investigations: rheologic measurements; evaluation of mucoadhesive properties by rheologic interaction with mucin; ferning test; and in vivo evaluation on rabbits, including treatment of an experimental dry eye; evaluation of the preocular retention; and evaluation of healing rate of experimental corneal wound.
Results: AG dispersions showed a newtonian nonviscous behavior, eta = 1.6 mPa . s for 10% w/w solution; it possessed good mucoadhesive properties useful for retention on the eye surface. In fact, a prolonged time of residence in rabbit eyes was ascertained using fluorescein-labeled AG. Five percent (5.0%) w/w AG exerted a good protective effect against the appearance of corneal dry spots. It also reduced significantly the healing time of an experimental corneal lesion since 27 h after the first treatment.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that AG may be a potential therapeutic product for dry eye protection and for the treatment of corneal wounds.