June 2015
Volume 56, Issue 7
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2015
Viability, Structural Integrity and Aqueous Humor Dynamics are Established in an Orthotopic Whole Eye Transplant Model
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kia M Washington
    Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UPMC, VCA Lab, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Yang Li
    Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UPMC, VCA Lab, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China
  • Bo Wang
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Maxine R. Miller
    Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UPMC, VCA Lab, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Yolandi van der Merwe
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Leon Ho
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Michael Steketee
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Joel S Schuman
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Kevin C Chan
    Department of Ophthalmology, UPMC Eye Center, Ear and Eye Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA
    Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Vijay S. Gorantla
    Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UPMC, VCA Lab, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Kia Washington, None; Yang Li, None; Bo Wang, None; Maxine Miller, None; Yolandi van der Merwe, None; Leon Ho, None; Michael Steketee, None; Joel Schuman, Zeiss (I); Kevin Chan, None; Vijay Gorantla, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2015, Vol.56, 4757. doi:
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      Kia M Washington, Yang Li, Bo Wang, Maxine R. Miller, Yolandi van der Merwe, Leon Ho, Michael Steketee, Joel S Schuman, Kevin C Chan, Vijay S. Gorantla, ; Viability, Structural Integrity and Aqueous Humor Dynamics are Established in an Orthotopic Whole Eye Transplant Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):4757.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract
 
Purpose
 

Approximately 39 million people worldwide suffer from blindness. The permanent nature of vision loss is largely due to the inability of retinal ganglion cells to regenerate. Whole eye transplantation (WET) gives the opportunity to provide viable retinal ganglion cells and an entire optical system to recipients with irreversible vision loss. The purpose of our study is to evaluate viability, structural integrity and aqueous humor dynamics in our orthotopic whole eye transplant model.

 
Methods
 

Syngeneic transplants were performed in Lewis (RT1l) rats. Donor flaps are composed of ocular tissue anterior to the optic chiasm, the skin of the eyelid and external ear. Recipient sites are prepared by removing a similar region of skin and ocular tissue with the optic nerve cut at the base of the globe. Grafts are transplanted to the recipient, vascular anastomoses are performed, as are nerve appositions between donor and recipient optic nerves. Slit lamp examination, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and histological analysis were performed to evaluate the viability and structural integrity of the transplanted eye. Gadolinium (Gd)-enhanced MRI was employed to evaluate ocular physiology of the transplanted eye.

 
Results
 

15 of 22 rats survived the surgical procedure with the maintenance of visual transparency of the anterior eye as evidenced by slit lamp examination. Some peripheral corneal neovascularization was seen in all eyes. OCT confirmed transparency of the cornea and lens, preservation of the retina, and blood flow to the eye. Gd-enhanced MRI revealed the presence of transplanted eye aqueous humor dynamics and intact blood-ocular and aqueous-vitreous barriers. Histology confirmed corneal neovascularization and preserved retinal integrity, with the exception of retinal nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell layer thinning.

 
Conclusions
 

We have established a viable orthotopic model for vascularized whole eye transplantation in the rat. Maintenance of structural integrity, viability and aqueous humor dynamics were confirmed. The model is excellent for studying viability, functional return and immunology in WET.  

 
Figure 1: A., B. & C. Donor hemi-face flap D. Long term survival of the WET transplanted recipient
 
Figure 1: A., B. & C. Donor hemi-face flap D. Long term survival of the WET transplanted recipient
 
 
Figure 2. OCT. Control (top row) Transplant (bottom row)<br /> Figure 3. T1-weighted images at 0-10min (left) and 60-70 min (right) after Gd administration 3 weeks after WET
 
Figure 2. OCT. Control (top row) Transplant (bottom row)<br /> Figure 3. T1-weighted images at 0-10min (left) and 60-70 min (right) after Gd administration 3 weeks after WET

 
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