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T. H. Van Essen, C C. Lin, H. J. Lai, A. K. Hussain, Martine J. Jager, Gregorius P. Luyten; A Biocornea Of Fish Scales - First Results Of A Research Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6038.
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To develop an animal model suitable to evaluate the biocompatibility of a fish-scale derived artificial cornea. This biocornea has been developed as an alternative for the use of human tissue. Prior to its use in humans, it is essential to determine the behavior and biocompatibility of this biocornea.
A ±250 µm thick, decellularized and decalcified fish scale-derived collagen matrix was implanted into the corneas of three groups of 14-week old Fischer 344 male rats. Rats were anesthetized with isufluorane, oxybuprocaine and marcaine and received corticosteroids and antibiotics postoperatively. The first group (n=6) received an Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK). The second group (n=6) had the matrix implanted into an intralamellar corneal pocket and the third group (n=6) subconjunctivally. Transparency of cornea and implant, neovascularization and epithelial damage were observed during 21 days. Cross sections of the enucleated eyes were stained with H/E and analyzed for cellular infiltration.
In rats receiving an intralamellar pocket implantation different degrees of corneal opacity were observed. The anterior lamel started to disappear after day 7. Implants in the ALK group remained transparent in all cases, despite neovascularization aimed at the sutures, yet, no reepithelialization was observed. Rats with a subconjunctival implant showed local swelling, redness and induration which decreased in time. Histology showed infiltration of granulocytes varying from only a few to a clear-cut foreign body reaction.
The artificial cornea is accepted quite well early on, but the current type may lead to corneal melting. The curvature and thickness of the implant needs be adjusted to better mimic the rats’ cornea and prevent mechanical irritation. Future research is warranted to optimize the Biocornea.
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