Molecular Basis of Pterygium Development
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© 2014 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted. Pterygium pathogenesis is mainly related to UV light exposure. However, the exact mechanisms by which it is formed have not been elucidated. Clinical advances in surgical treatment use conjunctival autografts and amniotic membranes in combination with adjuvant therapies, including mitomycin C, ß-radiation, and 5-fluoroacil, to reduce recurrence. Several studies aim to unveil the molecular mechanisms underlying pterygium growth and proliferation. They demonstrate the role of different factors, such as viruses, oxidative stress, DNA methylation, apoptotic and oncogenic proteins, loss of heterozygosity, microsatellite instability, inflammatory mediators, extracellular matrix modulators, lymphangiogenesis, cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and alterations in cholesterol metabolism in pterygium development. Understanding the molecular basis of pterygium provides new potential therapeutic targets for its prevention and elimination. This review focuses on providing a broad overview of what is currently known regarding molecular mechanisms of pterygium pathogenesis.