Gelam honey promotes ex vivo corneal fibroblasts wound healing

  • Alia Md. Yusof
  • Norzana Abd GhafarEmail author
  • Taty Anna Kamarudin
  • Kien-Hui Chua
  • Muhammad Fairuz Azmi
  • Sook-Luan Ng
  • Yasmin Anum Mohd Yusof
Original Article


This study evaluated the effects of Gelam honey (GH) on ex vivo corneal fibroblast ulcer model via wound healing assay, gene expression and immunocytochemistry. Corneal fibroblasts from New Zealand white rabbits were culture expanded. The corneal fibroblast wound healing capacity was observed by creating a circular wound onto confluent monolayer cells cultured in basal medium (BM), BM with GH, serum-enriched basal medium (BMS) and BMS with GH respectively. Wound healing assay and phenotypic characterization of the corneal fibroblast were performed at different stages of wound closure. Expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), vimentin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), lumican, collagen I and matrix metalloproteinase 12 (MMP 12) were measured at day 1, day 3 and complete wound closure day. Corneal fibroblast cultured in BMS with GH demonstrated the fastest wound closure, at day 5 post wounding. The gene expressions of ALDH and vimentin were higher than control groups while α-SMA expression was lower, in GH enriched media. The expressions of lumican, collagen I and MMP 12 were also higher in cells cultured in GH enriched media compared to the control groups. GH was shown to promote in vitro corneal fibroblast wound healing and may be a potential natural adjunct in the treatment of corneal wound.


Corneal fibroblasts Ex vivo Gelam honey Wound healing 



We would like to thank Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for providing the financial aid to conduct this research under the postgraduate grant (FF-393-2011). We would also like to thank all the staffs of Biotechnology Lab, Department of Physiology UKM for providing the facilities to conduct all sterile procedures in this research. We would also like to thank the staffs of Anatomy Lab, Department of Anatomy, UKM to provide the facilities for all staining procedures in this research.


This study was supported by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Grant FF-393-2011.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alia Md. Yusof
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norzana Abd Ghafar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Taty Anna Kamarudin
    • 1
  • Kien-Hui Chua
    • 3
  • Muhammad Fairuz Azmi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Sook-Luan Ng
    • 3
    • 5
  • Yasmin Anum Mohd Yusof
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical CentreKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Basic Science, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Selangor Puncak AlamPuncak AlamMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical CentreKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Discipline of Anatomy, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Teknologi MARA, Jalan HospitalSungai BulohMalaysia
  5. 5.Craniofacial Diagnostic and Bioscience Centre, Faculty of DentistryUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Cawangan Kampus Kuala LumpurKuala LumpurMalaysia
  6. 6.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical CentreKuala LumpurMalaysia

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