Last updated on July 2018

Ripasudil 0.4% Eye Drops in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy

Brief description of study

The cornea forms our "window to the world". Hence, its transparency is of utmost importance for vision. Corneal endothelium plays a central role in the maintenance of a transparent corneal stroma. It limits stromal fluid uptake from the anterior chamber of the eye through the formation of tight junctions. Simultaneously, fluid is actively transported from corneal stroma into the anterior chamber. This maintains the corneal stroma in a state of relative dehydration, thereby ensuring a constant distance of stromal collagen lamellae to each other, which in turn forms the basis for transparency of this tissue. If however corneal endothelial function is impaired, stromal swelling leads to corneal clouding and loss of vision.

Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy represents the most common form of corneal dystrophy. It occurs sporadically, however in some cases autosomal dominant inheritance has been described. This condition leads to progressive loss of corneal endothelium (typically around the age of 50-60 years), causing visual impairment due to swelling and opacification of corneal stroma.

Cell culture experiments have been able to show that chemical inhibitors of Rho-Kinase promote corneal endothelial cell proliferation and reduce apoptosis, while topical application in an animal model promoted corneal endothelial wound healing. This has prompted the notion of using topical Rho-kinase-inhibitor treatment to support endothelial cell regeneration in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy.

Since September 2014, Rho-kinase-inhibitor eye drops (ripasudil) are clinically available in Japan for reduction of intraocular pressure in Glaucoma patients. Ripasudil eye drops therefore represent a strong candidate for safe and effective adjunctive treatment in patients with Fuchs corneal endothelial cell dystrophy.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03575130

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