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Anders Ivarsen, Tinne Laurberg, Torben Møller-Pedersen; Role of Keratocyte Loss on Corneal Wound Repair after LASIK. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(10):3499-3506. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.04-0391.
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purpose. To investigate whether an initial keratocyte loss intensifies central corneal wound repair after LASIK in rabbits.
methods. New Zealand White rabbits received either conventional LASIK (−8 D, 6-mm diameter) or LASIK combined with a 7-mm diameter, epithelial denudation (LASIK-scrape). Animals were examined during 4 months by slit lamp and in vivo confocal microscopy to monitor changes in central corneal morphology, light backscattering (haze), and sublayer thickness. At various time points, corneas were processed for histology and stained for nuclei; F-actin; ED-A fibronectin; α-smooth muscle actin; TGF-β1, -β2, and -β receptor II; and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF).
results. In vivo confocal microscopy identified no major acellular zones or changes in cell morphology or reflectivity after conventional LASIK. By contrast, a complete loss of keratocytes was observed in the anterior 77 ± 25 μm stroma 1 week after LASIK-scrape. Highly reflective, migratory fibroblasts gradually repopulated the acellular zone, and by week 8, quiescent-appearing keratocytes were observed throughout the stroma. Correspondingly, stromal light backscattering peaked at 2 weeks after LASIK-scrape (2200 ± 620 U) followed by a decline to approximately 60 U from week 8; comparable to the slightly increased reflectivity (approximately 50 U) observed after conventional LASIK (ns). Stromal thickness appeared stable 8 weeks after both LASIK and LASIK-scrape, after a regrowth of 13 ± 3 and 20 ± 11 μm, respectively (ns). In addition, both procedures induced a minor and comparable epithelial hyperplasia of 4 ± 2 and 7 ± 5 μm, respectively (ns). No myofibroblast transformation or TGF-β growth factor expression was observed below the flap after either treatment.
conclusions. LASIK-scrape induces an anterior keratocyte loss, leading to development of temporary haze during cell repopulation. However, 8 weeks after both LASIK and LASIK-scrape, only a slightly increased reflectivity is noted at the interface. Corneal thickness is stable by week 8, and stromal regrowth and epithelial hyperplasia are comparable after both treatments. Thus, an initial loss of stromal keratocytes does not appear to intensify corneal wound repair after LASIK.
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