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A. Sultanim, A. Denoyer, F. Ossant, C. Blechet, F. Patat, P.-J. Pisella; Very-High-Frequency Ultrasound Imaging of the Corneal Damage in a Rabbit Model of Total Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):471.
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To assess in vivo the limbal and corneal changes induced by total limbal stem cell (SC) deficiency using very-high-frequency ultrasound (VHFU) imaging.
Deep peripheral keratectomy was performed in the left eye of twelve rabbits to create a surgical model of total limbal SC deficiency. Right eye was used as control. Clinical and VHFU examinations were performed every week during two months, and then compared to histological analysis at the end of the experiments.
Clinical and ultrasound severity of the corneal pathology was not identical in every rabbits. Qualitative VHFU imaging revealed several corneal changes from slight epithelial damage to deep ultrastructural limbal changes and corneal new vessels. Furthermore, we reported VHFU imaging of Descemet membrane and corneal endothelial damage in a few animals. Quantitative ultrasound measurements of the epithelial thickness were performed to follow in vivo the ultrastructural consequences of total limbal SC deficiency on the ocular surface. VHFU findings were confirmed by optical and transmitting electron microscopy.
VHFU imaging allows an ultrastructural in vivo assessment of the corneal damage in an animal model of total limbal SC deficiency secondary to deep lamellar keratectomy. It could be a useful device first to quantify the corneal pathology in such an animal model, and then to in vivo assess the effects of cellular therapy like SC transplantation.
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