Anat Cell Biol.  2021 Sep;54(3):375-386. 10.5115/acb.21.077.

Topical onion juice mitigates the morphological alterations of the cornea in the aged male rats

  • 1Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
  • 2Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain
  • 3Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The National University, Khartoum, Sudan


Aging is associated with structural and functional changes of the cornea. Fresh onion juice contains phenolic compounds and flavonoids that may provide an anti-aging effect. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of the onion juice to ameliorate these aging changes. Rats were grouped as adult and aged groups. Rats of both groups received eye drops of diluted onion juice in their right eyes every 8 hours for 12 weeks, while the left ones were served as control eyes. The corneas of both eyes underwent histopathological, immunohistochemical and morphometric assessments, in addition to measuring their intraocular pressure (IOP). The aged group exhibited a significantly elevated IOP, decreased tear secretion, degenerated corneal epithelium and endothelium, surface erosions and stromal edema with irregular collagen fibers. Administration of onion juice led to lowering of IOP, significant increase in tearing, restoration of most of epithelial, endothelial and stromal integrity, and increased epithelial, keratocystic and endothelial cell densities. Immunohistochemically, the epithelium and endothelium revealed positive immune reactions for both epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and paired box protein-6 (PAX6) in the control and onion-treated corneas of the adult group, while these immune reactions were negative in the untreated aged ones. Onion drops in aged corneas showed a positive immune reaction for EFGR and PAX6 involving the epithelial and endothelial layers. In conclusion, topical onion juice improves corneal aging changes through its direct effect, and indirectly through lowering IOP and enhancing tear secretion.


Aging; Cornea; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Paired box protein-6; Onion juice
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