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I K Gipson, J Friend, S J Spurr; Transplant of corneal epithelium to rabbit corneal wounds in vivo.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1985;26(4):425-433.
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Sheets of corneal epithelium removed from 9-mm buttons of adult rabbit corneas using Dispase II were placed on abraded (basement membrane intact) or keratectomized corneas of anesthetized rabbits. Both types of wounds extended from limbus to limbus. The host animals were maintained under deep anesthesia for 3 hr, during which time culture medium was dripped onto the surface of the transplant. A soft contact lens then was placed over the cornea and the eye bandaged shut. Short-term experiments indicated that after 24 hr the transplanted epithelium was adherent to both abraded and keratectomized corneas (n = 4). Hemidesmosomes had formed between basal cells of donor epithelium and denuded host basement membrane, and cytoplasmic blebs had extended from donor epithelium into host keratectomized stroma. Seven transplants to abraded corneas and 17 transplants to keratectomized corneas were followed for longer time periods. Six of the seven transplants to abraded corneas were maintained until termination of the experiment (four at 4 weeks, one at 2 weeks, one at 1 week). Three of the 17 transplants to keratectomized corneas were maintained until termination (one at 4 weeks, one at 2 weeks, and one at 6 days). The remaining 14 sloughed between days 2 and 6. These data indicate that it is feasible to transplant corneal epithelial sheets and that they can be maintained most successfully if the host basement membrane is present.
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