Gefarnate Regenerates Goblet Cells

We know that Goblet Cells produce Mucin which is a vital component of the tear film. Currently there is no real easy way (ie, inexpensive, fast way) to image the Goblet Cells. Impression Cytology takes too much time and is relatively expressive. 
The next frontier of dry eye research will be the imaging of the Goblet Cells and even the Lacrimal gland cells. 
Scarring that we see in Meibomian Gland Disease is likely also present in the Goblet Cells in many patients, but we have no way to “prove this” other than taking a biopsy of the conjunctiva and send it in to the laboratory. Even then, the Goblet Cell density can vary from location to location.
Many are trying to find natural ways to increase the mucin production of Goblet Cells. 
Gefarnate is one such option. A 2013 study below in rabbits showed Gefarnate stimulates mucin-like glycoprotein secretion in conjunctival tissue. This is a potential new treatment for dry eye patients. Why no drug company has pounced on this, I am not sure. No further studies were done to disprove this that I have seen.
Cabbage contains Gefarnate. Cabbage also contains many amino acids which help protect the lining of the digestive tract to prevent and heal stomac ulcers, when eaten raw. Cooked cabbage has less concentrations of Gefarnate and amino acids. 
It is know that a good way to get cabbage into your diet to help heal and treat your peptic ulcers is by eating 2 to 3 cups of raw cabbage a day with a salad or meal. If you do not, like eating raw cabbage, you can always drink a couple glasses of raw cabbage juice each day and that will do the trick as well. 
The question I wonder is: is there a way to mash cabbage into an ointment into the eye? Would that work? No one has done a study yet, but likely that is down the line for some company. I would not recommend doing this given a potential risk of corneal abrasion or infection. 
Is eating a lot of raw cabbage helpful in Dry Eye patients? Not that I have heard. If you have tried this, let me know. 

 2013;7:211-7. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S39061. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Gefarnate stimulates mucin-like glycoprotein secretion in conjunctival tissue and ameliorates corneal epithelial damage in animal dry-eye models.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of gefarnate on mucin-like glycoprotein secretion in isolated rabbit conjunctival tissue, and on corneal epithelial damage in rabbit and cat dry-eye models.


Conjunctival tissue isolated from rabbits was treated with gefarnate. Mucin-like glycoprotein was detected in the culture supernatant by an enzyme-linked lectin assay. Gefarnate ointment was topically applied to eyes once daily for 7 days in the rabbit dry-eye model, in which the lacrimal glands, Harderian gland, and nictitating membrane were removed, or for 4 weeks in the cat dry-eye model, in which the lacrimal gland and nictitating membrane were removed. Corneal epithelial damage was evaluated by measurement of corneal permeability by rose bengal in the rabbit model or by fluorescein staining in the cat model.


Gefarnate stimulated mucin-like glycoprotein secretion in conjunctival tissue in a dose-dependent manner. In the rabbit dry-eye model, application of gefarnate ointment to the eyes resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in rose bengal permeability in the cornea, with the effect being significant at concentrations of ≥0.3%. In the cat dry-eye model, application of gefarnate ointment resulted in a significant decrease in the corneal fluorescein staining score.


These results suggest that gefarnate stimulates in vitro secretion of mucin-like glycoprotein in conjunctival tissue and ameliorates corneal epithelial damage in animal dry-eye models. Gefarnate may therefore be effective for treating dry eye.


cat; dry eye; fluorescein staining; gefarnate; rabbit; rose bengal permeability
Shopping Cart