NGF protects corneal, retinal, and cutaneous tissues/cells from phototoxic effect of UV exposure

Maria Luisa Rocco, Bijorn Omar Balzamino, Luigi Aloe, Alessandra Micera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Based on evidence that nerve growth factor (NGF) exerts healing action on damaged corneal, retinal, and cutaneous tissues, the present study sought to assess whether topical NGF application can prevent and/or protect epithelial cells from deleterious effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Methods: Eyes from 40 young-adult Sprague Dawley rats and cutaneous tissues from 36 adult nude mice were exposed to UVA/B lamp for 60 min, either alone or in the presence of murine NGF. Corneal, retinal, and cutaneous tissues were sampled/processed for morphological, immunohistochemical, and biomolecular analysis, and results were compared statistically. Results: UV exposure affected both biochemical and molecular expression of NGF and trkANGFR in corneal, retinal, and cutaneous tissues while UV exposure coupled to NGF treatment enhanced NGF and trkANGFR expression as well as reduced cell death. Conclusions: Overall, the findings of this in vivo/ex vivo study show the NGF ability to reduce the potential UV damage. Although the mechanism underneath this effect needs further investigation, these observations prospect the development of a pharmacological NGF-based therapy devoted to maintain cell function when exposed to phototoxic UV radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-738
Number of pages10
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018


  • NGF
  • Phototoxicity
  • Protection
  • trkA
  • UV radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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