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Patrick M. Ladage, Kazuaki Yamamoto, David H. Ren, Ling Li, James V. Jester, W. Matthew Petroll, Jan P. G. Bergmanson, H. Dwight Cavanagh; Proliferation Rate of Rabbit Corneal Epithelium during Overnight Rigid Contact Lens Wear. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(12):2804-2812.
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purpose. To examine cell proliferation of the normal corneal epithelium and
during extended rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lens wear.
methods. Twenty-three New Zealand White rabbits were fitted unilaterally with
either a low oxygen transmissible (Dk/t) or hyper-Dk/t RGP
lens, with the other eye serving as a control. The rabbits were
injected with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) 24-hours later and killed
at three time points: 1, 3, and 7 days after injection. Corneas were
processed for immunocytochemistry, and sequential digital images were
taken from the superior limbus to the central epithelium with an
epifluorescence microscope. The total number of BrdU-labeled cell pairs
results. The limbus in normal corneas was significantly less populated with
BrdU-labeled cells than the central and peripheral epithelium
(P < 0.05). The peripheral epithelium adjacent to
the limbus was marked by a peak of labeled cells (P < 0.05). Both types of RGP lenses produced an increase in BrdU
labeling in the limbus and a dramatic decrease in the central
epithelium (80% for low Dk/t, 37% for hyper Dk/t). At day 3 and 7
after BrdU injection, the low-Dk/t lens continued to show decreased
BrdU labeling centrally, whereas the limbus remained increased.
Hyper-Dk/t lens wear however, showed persistent limbal elevation but
equivalent numbers of BrdU-labeled cells centrally at days 3 and 7,
compared with control corneas. Keratocytes unexpectedly showed BrdU
labeling during RGP lens wear.
conclusions. Limbus, peripheral, and central epithelium were characterized by
different proliferation rates in the normal rabbit cornea. RGP lens
wear significantly altered the homeostatic proliferation pattern of the
epithelium with the low-Dk/t lens having the most dramatic effect. RGP
contact lens wear appears to stimulate proliferation of
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