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Michael J. Nicolas, Manuel Deprez, Francois Majo; Evaluation Of The Integrity Of Human Corneal Epithelium Maintained In Organ-culture During Eye Banking Using Corneamax®. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1840.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Mediums have been developed to conserve corneal endothelium in organ-culture during eye banking. CorneaMax® is used by 25% of Eye Bank in Europe. Only little is known about conservation of corneal epithelium with this medium during banking. Its preservation could be of interest in clinic to cure corneal disease with stem cells deficiency. Therefore, we wanted to examine the integrity of human corneal epithelium maintained in CorneaMax®.
Human corneas, considered unsuitable for transplantation, were obtained from the Eye Bank in Lausanne. Average post-mortem time was 14 hours. Cornoscleral rings were maintained in organ-culture in Corneamax® at 32°C. Samples were formalin-fixed after period ranging from 0 (D0) to 35 days (D35, N=5 for each time points) and stained with H&E. Proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated by immunostaining with antibody against Ki67 and Caspase3 respectively.
Corneas, which were not in organ-cultured (D0), showed different morphology, including intact epithelium with 5 to 7 layers, but also completely denuded basement membrane. In two cases, at D0, the epithelium lost its adherence to the basal lamina of the cornea creating a large epithelial sheet. During the two first days, corneas and limbus area lost totally their epithelium, except for some remaining limbal basal cells. From day 2 to day 10, regeneration of the epithelium took place, starting from the limbal region in direction to the central cornea. From day 10 to day 35, corneal epithelium appeared as an atrophic epithelium, consisting of only two cell layers. Proliferation happened in the whole cornea during the 35 days of organ-culture, as shown by Ki67 positive cells. Apoptosis was rarely detected in the corneal epithelium.
Corneas maintained in CorneaMax® showed a complete disappearance of the corneal epithelium during the two first days and a conservation of limbal basal cells in the limbal region. These remaining cells allowed a full regeneration of the tissue, leading to an atrophic epithelium, composed of only two cell layers. This atrophic epithelium could be seen in all the organ-cultured corneas during the 35 days of conservation. This study is a first step to develop medium in organ-culture in order to conserve corneal epithelial cells.
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