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T. Bensaoula, O. Nada, S. Proulx, L. Germain, V. Bernier, M. Carrier, S. G. Rosolen, I. Brunette; Optimization of the Pig Model for Penetrating Keratoplasty. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):2328. doi: https://doi.org/.
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The goal of this study was to report on the advantages and limitations of the pig model for experimental in vivo penetrating keratoplasty (PK), and to optimize this model.
Eleven healthy domestic pigs aged from 10 to 20 weeks (range: 6 to 120 kg) were used. Eight animals underwent full thickness PK with either allogeneic (n=3) or autologous (n=5) donor corneal tissue. In three cases, the inflammatory response to partial steps of the surgery was evaluated. Animals were observed daily (slit-lamp, tonometry, and pachymetry) and euthanized on day 7. Postmortem assessment included optical coherence tomography, histology and electron microscopy (SEM and TEM).
Graft failure was observed in 1 case and was attributed to surgically induced intraocular inflammation. Corneal edema was present at the end of surgery in all cases and decreased after surgery (r=-0.87; p=0.002). Inflammation, which was found to be a key parameter for the success of the graft, was significantly less when the following were used at the time of surgery: full pupil dilatation, dispersive viscoelastic agents, intraocular tissue plasminogen activators, intravenous mannitol, and systemic and topical steroids. Age was also a significant parameter for the success of transplantation. Histopathology of successful grafts showed a nice endothelial monolayer, with no adjacent fibrin membrane, while in the failed graft only a few residual endothelial cells remained, covered with a thick inflammatory membrane. SEM of successful grafts confirmed the presence of the typical hexagonal corneal endothelial pattern and TEM showed a normal endothelial cell ultrastructure.
Adequate surgical and general anesthesia protocols were successfully developed for experimental in vivo PK in the pig model.
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