E052 – Corneal neurodegeneration

Objectives and lines of research


1. Description of the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of corneal ectasias.
2. Description of the proteomic alterations from the preclinical stage of the keratoconus disease; in association with the corneal tomographic and biomechanical study.
3. Preclinical development of diapeutic nanoparticles for keratoconus based on the potential pharmacological effect of lactoferrin.
4. Identification of tear biomarkers for the detection of neurodegenerative diseases.

Lines of research

  • Inflammatory markers in corneal neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Innate immunity in corneal ectasias and early diagnosis markers.
  • Tear proteomics in keratoconus and first-order relatives.
  • Diapeutics of keratoconus with vectorized nanoparticles.
  • In vitro models for research on corneal ectasias.
  • Tear biomarkers for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.


Research team
Lema Gesto, Isabel


Postdoctoral staff
Díez-Feijoo Arias, Elío
Regueiro Lorenzo, Uxía
Rodríguez Fernández, Marta

Predoctoral staff
López López, Maite
Varela Fernández, Rubén


Technical support staff
Ramallo Pita, Miriam


  • Regueiro U, López-López M, Varela-Fernández R, Sobrino T, Diez-Feijoo E, Lema I. Immunomodulatory Effect of Human Lactoferrin on Toll-like Receptors 2 Expression as Therapeutic Approach for Keratoconus. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 15;23(20):12350. doi: 10.3390/ijms232012350.
  • Romaus-Sanjurjo D, Regueiro U, López-López M, Vázquez-Vázquez L, Ouro A, Lema I, Sobrino T. Alzheimer’s Disease Seen through the Eye: Ocular Alterations and Neurodegeneration. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 24;23(5):2486. doi: 10.3390/ijms23052486.
  • López-López M, Regueiro U, Bravo SB, Chantada-Vázquez MDP, Pena C, Díez-Feijoo E, Hervella P, Lema I. Shotgun Proteomics for the Identification and Profiling of the Tear Proteome of Keratoconus Patients. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2022 May 2;63(5):12. doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.5.12.
  • Varela-Fernández R, García-Otero X, Díaz-Tomé V, Regueiro U, López-López M, González-Barcia M, Isabel Lema M, Otero-Espinar FJ. Mucoadhesive PLGA Nanospheres and Nanocapsules for Lactoferrin Controlled Ocular Delivery. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Apr 6;14(4):799. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14040799.
  • López-López M, Regueiro U, Bravo SB, Chantada-Vázquez MDP, Varela-Fernández R, Ávila-Gómez P, Hervella P, Lema I. Tear Proteomics in Keratoconus: A Quantitative SWATH-MS Analysis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2021 Aug 2;62(10):30. doi: 10.1167/iovs.62.10.30.
  • Regueiro U, López-López M, Hervella P, Sobrino T, Lema I. Corneal and conjunctival alteration of innate immune expression in first-degree relatives of keratoconus patients. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2021 Feb;259(2):459-467. doi: 10.1007/s00417-020-04929-9.
  • Varela-Fernández R, García-Otero X, Díaz-Tomé V, Regueiro U, López-López M, González-Barcia M, Lema MI, Otero-Espinar FJ. Design, Optimization, and Characterization of Lactoferrin-Loaded Chitosan/TPP and Chitosan/Sulfobutylether-β-cyclodextrin Nanoparticles as a Pharmacological Alternative for Keratoconus Treatment. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Jan 27;13(3):3559-3575. doi: 10.1021/acsami.0c18926.
  • Regueiro U, Pérez-Mato M, Hervella P, Campos F, Sobrino T, Lema I. Toll-like receptors as diagnostic targets in pellucid marginal degeneration. Exp Eye Res. 2020 Nov;200:108211. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2020.108211.