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Maria Laggner, Andreas Pollreisz, Gerald Schmidinger, Ruth A. Byrne, Clemens Scheinecker, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Ying-Ting Chen; Correlation Between Multimodal Microscopy, Tissue Morphology, and Enzymatic Resistance in Riboflavin-UVA Cross-Linked Human Corneas. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(6):3584-3592. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-16508.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To explore the utility of multimodal microscopy as a noninvasive tool to assess corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) efficacy, we investigated the correlation between riboflavin (RF) axial profile, second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging, and histological/biochemical changes of human corneas after RF-ultraviolet A (UVA)–catalyzed CXL.
De-epithelialized human corneoscleral tissues were imaged by confocal and multiphoton microscopy to study RF tissue diffusion profile and SHG-based roughness index (Rq) after CXL. We installed 0.1% RF for 5, 10, and 20 minutes, respectively, followed by UVA irradiation, while dextran drug vehicle–treated corneas served as controls. Masson's trichrome staining and collagenase digestion assay were employed to assess ultrastructural modifications of collagen lamellae and bioenzymatic strength following RF-UVA CXL.
Stromal absorption of RF was significantly higher in 20 minutes compared with 5- and 10-minute drug instillations. The roughness index of SHG images was reduced after RF-UVA CXL at all RF instillation time points compared with dextran controls. Interestingly, correlation between axial profiles of RF dosage and Rq index was only observed in 10- and 20-minute RF instillations (R2 = 0.13 and 0.28, respectively, all P < 0.05), but not in the 5-minute group. Masson's trichrome staining revealed collagen fibril compaction in cross-linked corneas in an RF dose-dependent manner. Collagenase digestion assay showed significantly increased biochemical strength by higher RF doses in cross-linked corneas.
Intrastromal RF distribution profiles correlated with histological and functional property changes in RF-UVA cross-linked corneas. A riboflavin-defined threshold further determined the sensitivity of SHG imaging as a noninvasive imaging modality to assess the efficacy of RF-UVA CXL.
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