Corneal toxicity of cell-penetrating peptides that inhibit Herpes simplex virus entry.

PubMed ID: 16910869

Author(s): Akkarawongsa R, Cullinan AE, Zinkel A, Clarin J, Brandt CR. Corneal toxicity of cell-penetrating peptides that inhibit Herpes simplex virus entry. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Aug;22(4):279-89. PMID 16910869

Journal: Journal Of Ocular Pharmacology And Therapeutics : The Official Journal Of The Association For Ocular Pharmacology And Therapeutics, Volume 22, Issue 4, Aug 2006

Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) inhibit Herpes simplex virus entry at low micromolar concentrations and may be useful either as prophylactic or therapeutic agents for herpetic keratitis. The aim of this study was to assess the in vitro and in vivo toxicity of three CPPs-EB, TAT-C, and HOM (penetratin)-for the cornea. Incubation of primary (HK320) or immortalized (THK320) human keratocytes with the EB peptide (up to 100 microM), bHOMd (up to 200 microM), or TAT-C (up to 400 microM) resulted in no evidence of toxicity using a formazan dye-reduction assay. Similar results were obtained with a human trabecular meshwork cell line (TM-1), primary human foreskin fibroblasts (DP-9), Vero, and HeLa cells with EB and TATC. The bHOMd peptide showed some toxicity in Vero and HeLa cells, with CC50 values of 70 and 93 microM, respectively. The EB peptide did not inhibit macromolecular synthesis in Vero cells at concentrations below 150 microM, although cell proliferation was blocked at concentrations of EB above 50 microM. In vivo toxicity was assessed by applying peptides in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium to the cornea 4 times daily for 7 d. At concentrations 1000 times the IC50 values, the EB and bHOM peptides showed no toxicity, whereas TAT-C caused some mild eyelid swelling. Some slight epithelial cell sloughing was seen with the bKLA peptide in vivo. These results suggest that these CPPs-and EB in particular-have a favorable toxicity profile, and that further development is warranted.