Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



The corneal endothelium is vital in maintaining the functions of the cornea, namely hydration, thickness, and transparency. Diseases that impair the corneal endothelium are currently remedied solely via surgery. These surgeries present obstacles to patients of underserved areas due to cost, ineffectiveness, and lack of access. Trachoma, an infection which can cause corneal opacities, is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. In order to eradicate trachoma, epidemiological data is needed. Three villages in Kasigau, Kenya were studied to quantify the occurrence of trachoma in the region. The three villages were found to have adequate access to antibiotics and an unremarkable incidence of trachoma symptoms. An alternative therapy to surgery for corneal endothelial disease is needed. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) has been shown to induce cell proliferation in bovine corneal endothelial cells (BCEC). The pathway by which this occurs is not well understood. It was hypothesized that ET-1 induces proliferation through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Treatment of BCEC with 10 nM ET-1 for 15 min induced a 4.3 fold increase in pERK1/2 (p < 0.001). Furthermore, 30 min pre-treatment with a MAPK pathway inhibitor before ET-1 treatment significantly decreased pERK1/2 expression (p<0.05). These results suggest that the MAPK pathway may be involved in BCEC ET-1 induced proliferation.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Ken Crawford


Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences