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Noriko Koizumi, Yuji Sakamoto, Naoki Okumura, Norio Okahara, Hideaki Tsuchiya, Ryuzo Torii, Leanne J. Cooper, Yuriko Ban, Hidetoshi Tanioka, Shigeru Kinoshita; Cultivated Corneal Endothelial Cell Sheet Transplantation in a Primate Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(10):4519-4526. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0567.
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purpose. To examine the feasibility of cultivated corneal endothelial cell transplantation in a primate model.
methods. Monkey corneal endothelial cells (MCECs) obtained from three cynomolgus monkeys were cultivated, with subcultures grown on collagen type I carriers for 4 weeks. The corneal endothelium of the right eye of six monkeys was mechanically scraped, after which a cultivated MCEC sheet was brought into the anterior chamber of four eyes and fixed to Descemet’s membrane by air. As the control, a collagen sheet without MCECs was transplanted into one eye of one monkey, and a suspension of cultivated MCECs was injected into the anterior chamber in one eye.
results. Cultivated MCECs produced a confluent monolayer of closely attached hexagonal cells that showed both ZO-1 and Na+-K+ ATPase expression. In the early postoperative period MCEC sheets were attached to Descemet’s membrane and corneal clarity was recovered. The recovered clarity was accompanied by a decrease in corneal thickness. Fluorescein DiI labeled donor corneal endothelial cells were detected on the host cornea on postoperative day 7. Six months after transplantation MCEC-transplanted corneas remained clear, and hexagonal cells were observed by in vivo specular microscopy with a density of 1992 to 2475 cells/mm2. Control eyes showed irreversible bullous keratopathy that precluded pachymetry and specular microscopy.
conclusions. A model of cultivated corneal endothelial transplantation for corneal endothelial dysfunction was established in primates whose corneal endothelial cells have less proliferative capacity in vivo. Our results suggest that this is a useful model for long-term observation in advance of the future clinical application of cultivated corneal endothelial transplantation.
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