The protein sericin is the main constituent of silk. We demonstrate the effects of sericin on corneal wound healing in rat debrided corneal epithelium. We also determined the effects of sericin on cell adhesion and proliferation in a human cornea epithelial cell line (HCE-T). Epithelium was removed from the corneas of rats with a BD Micro-Sharp, and wounded corneas were dyed with a 1% fluorescein solution. The corneal wounds were monitored using a fundus camera TRC-50X equipped with a digital camera. The corneal wound of rats instilled with saline was approximately 10% healing at 12 h, and approximately 65% healing at 24 h after corneal epithelial abrasion. The corneal wounds of rats instilled with saline showed almost complete healing by 36 h after corneal epithelial abrasion. On the other hand, the corneal healing rate of rats instilled with sericin solution was higher than that of rats instilled with saline, and the corneal healing rate constant increased with increasing sericin concentration. In addition, the adhesion and proliferation of HCE-T cells treated with 0.01-0.5% sericin solutions were enhanced, reaching a maximum at treatments with 0.2 and 0.1% sericin solutions, respectively. The present study demonstrates that the instillation of sericin solution has a potent effect in promoting wound healing and wound-size reduction in rats, probably caused by increasing cell movement and proliferation.
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