Acute ultraviolet (UV) B exposure causes photokeratitis and induces apoptosis in corneal cells. Geranylgeranylacetone (GGA) is an acyclic polyisoprenoid that induces expression of heat shock protein (HSP)70, a soluble intracellular chaperone protein expressed in various tissues, protecting cells against stress conditions. We examined whether induction of HSP70 has therapeutic effects on UV-photokeratitis in mice. C57 BL/6 mice were divided into four groups, GGA-treated (500 mg/kg/mouse) and UVB-exposed (400 mJ/cm2
), GGA-untreated UVB-exposed (400 mJ/cm2
), GGA-treated (500 mg/kg/mouse) but not exposed and naive controls. Eyeballs were collected 24 h after irradiation, and corneas were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL). HSP70, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and protein kinase B (Akt) expression were also evaluated. Irradiated corneal epithelium was significantly thicker in the eyes of mice treated with GGA compared with those given the vehicle alone (p
< 0.01). Significantly fewer TUNEL-positive cells were observed in the eyes of GGA-treated mice than controls after irradiation (p
< 0.01). Corneal HSP70 levels were significantly elevated in corneas of mice treated with GGA (p
< 0.05). ROS signal was not affected by GGA. NF-κB activation was reduced but phospho-(Ser/Ther) Akt substrate expression was increased in corneas after irradiation when treated with GGA. GGA-treatment induced HSP70 expression and ameliorated UV-induced corneal damage through the reduced NF-κB activation and possibly increased Akt phosphorilation.