Role of FGF10/FGFR2b Signaling in Homeostasis and Regeneration of Adult Lacrimal Gland and Corneal Epithelium Proliferation

Emma N. Finburgh, Olivier Mauduit, Takako Noguchi, Jennifer J. Bu, Anser A. Abbas, Dominic F. Hakim, Saverio Bellusci, Robyn Meech, Helen P. Makarenkova, Natalie A. Afshari

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Purpose: Fibroblast growth factor 10 (FGF10) is involved in eye, meibomian, and lacrimal gland (LG) development, but its function in adult eye structures remains unknown. This study aimed to characterize the role of FGF10 in homeostasis and regeneration of adult LG and corneal epithelium proliferation. 

Methods: Quantitative reverse transcription PCR was used for analysis of FGF10 expression in both early postnatal and adult mouse LG, and RNA sequencing was used to analyze gene expression during LG inflammation. FGF10 was injected into the LG of two mouse models of Sjögren's syndrome and healthy controls. Flow cytometry, BrdU cell proliferation assay, immunostaining, and hematoxylin and eosin staining were used to evaluate the effects of FGF10 injection on inflammation and cell proliferation in vivo. Mouse and human epithelial cell cultures were treated with FGF10 in vitro, and cell viability was assessed using WST-8 and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) quantification assays. 

Results: The level of Fgf10 mRNA expression was lower in adult LG compared to early postnatal LG and was downregulated in chronic inflammation. FGF10 injection into diseased LGs significantly increased cell proliferation and decreased the number of B cells. Mouse and human corneal epithelial cell cultures treated with FGF10 showed significantly higher cell viability and greater cell proliferation. 

Conclusions: FGF10 appears to promote regeneration in damaged adult LGs. These findings have therapeutic potential for developing new treatments for dry eye disease targeting the ability of the cornea and LG to regenerate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • fibroblast growth factor
  • FGF10
  • lacrimal gland
  • corneal epithelius
  • dry eye
  • cell proliferation


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