Suramin inhibits wound healing following filtering procedures for glaucoma

Holger Mietz, Patricia Chévez-Barrios, Robert M. Feldman, Michael W. Lieberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background. Trabeculectomies are the most frequently performed procedures in surgically treating eyes with glaucoma. Failures are caused by fibrosis in the external ostium of the filtering procedure. In order to inhibit the fibrotic wound healing reaction, a new pharmacological approach using suramin, which inhibits a variety of important growth factors was used. Methods. Pigmented rabbits were used and filtering procedures performed. Suramin was applied with concentrations ranging from 10 mg/ml to 333 mg/ml once during surgery and four times following surgery. The success of the filtering procedure was assessed by intraocular pressure measurements. To evaluate possible intraocular toxic effects, treated eyes were histopathologically evaluated after 4 weeks, and the ciliary body adjacent to the site of application was examined using electron microscopy. Results. With concentrations of suramin of 200 mg/ml and 333 mg/ml, the trabeculectomies were patent longer than in the controls and in eyes operated with mitomycin C, which currently is the most frequently used antiproliferative drug to enhance the outcome of surgery in humans. No severe toxic effects to the ciliary epithelium were seen in suramin treated eyes. Conclusions. This study demonstrates for the first time the effciency of a substance that broadly inhibits the action of growth factors on target cells in the setting of ocular wound healing. In this in vivo model, suramin has been shown to be highly effective in preventing scarring and in having fewer toxic side effects than usually used antimetabolites. These results therefore may suggest a new approach to the surgical treatment of glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-820
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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