We evaluated the effect of the conjugate of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF2) and saporin (FGF2-SAP) on proliferation of cultured keratocytes. Cultured rabbit and human keratocytes were incubated in medium containing 0.01 to 100 nM of chemical conjugate of EGF2 conjugated by disulfide bond to saporin (CCFS1), FGF2 genetically fused to saporin (rFGF2-SAP), FGF2, or saporin for three hours or four days and cell proliferation was quantified four days after the drug treatment. Proliferation of rabbit and human keratocytes was effectively inhibited by three hour and by four day exposure to CCFS1 and rFGF2-SAP in a dose-dependent manner, whereas it was affected minimally by four day exposure to saporin. Their inhibitory effects were detected at concentrations above 0.1 or 1 nM, and were most prominent in serum-stimulated rabbit keratocytes. These results suggest a potential role for FGF2-SAP in limiting proliferation of keratocytes during corneal wound healing.
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