Antifibrotic effects of pirfenidone on Tenon’s fibroblasts in glaucomatous eyes: comparison with mitomycin C and 5-fluorouracil

  • Jung Hwa Na
  • Kyung Rim Sung
  • Jin A. Shin
  • Jung Il MoonEmail author



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antifibrotic effects of pirfenidone (PFD) on primary cultured human Tenon’s fibroblasts (HTFs) from primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) eyes, compared to mitomicin C (MMC) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).

Materials and methods

Samples of human Tenon’s capsule were obtained during respective surgeries from three groups of patients: patients with cataract (CAT group), patients with POAG who underwent glaucoma filtration surgery (GFS) (POAG1 group), and patients with POAG who underwent GFS due to failed bleb of previous GFS (POAG2 group). Cell toxicity, cell migration, and the expression level of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) protein were evaluated in primary cultured HTFs from the three patient groups after treatment (PFD, MMC, or 5-FU).


Overall, cell viability after PFD treatment was higher compared to MMC treatment (82.3 ± 5.1 % vs 56.7 ± 3.8 %; p = 0.001) and comparable to 5-FU treatment (82.3 ± 5.1 % vs 85.7 ± 10.7 %, p = 0.214) at the same concentration (0.4 mg/ml). Both 0.3 mg/ml PFD and 0.1 mg/ml MMC inhibited cell migration compared to control (without treatment) cells (p = 0.014 and 0.005, respectively), while 0.2 mg/ml 5-FU showed the highest degree of cell migration among the three agents in the POAG1 group (PFD vs MMC vs 5-FU; 29.5 ± 2.1 % vs 34.5 ± 0.7 % vs 76.0 ± 8.5 %, PFD vs MMC; p = 1.000, PFD vs 5-FU; p = 0.008, MMC vs 5-FU; p = 0.011). PFD (0.1 or 0.3 mg/ml) and MMC (0.05 and 0.1 mg/ml) treatment significantly reduced the protein expression level of α-SMA in the POAG 1 group (all p < 0.05), and the α-SMA protein level following treatment with 0.3 mg/ml PFD was lower than that of 0.1 mg/ml MMC (p = 0.040).


PFD showed less cytotoxicity compared to MMC. PFD and MMC inhibited cell migration and reduced α-SMA protein expression levels, while 5-FU showed neither inhibition of cell migration nor reduction in α-SMA expression level. These findings indicate PFD as a potential adjunctive antifibrotic agent to prevent bleb failure during GFS.


Antimetabolites Fibroblasts Glaucoma filtration surgery Pirfenidone 


Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have NO affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung Hwa Na
    • 1
  • Kyung Rim Sung
    • 2
  • Jin A. Shin
    • 2
  • Jung Il Moon
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.St. Mary’s Eye CenterSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Ophthalmology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yeouido St. Mary’s HospitalThe Catholic University of Korea College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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