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A.S. Jun, S. Chakravarti, H.F. Edelhauser, M.C. Kimos; Aging Changes of Mouse Corneal Endothelium and Descemet Membrane . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):4388.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To characterize age–associated changes in the corneal endothelium and Descemet membrane in C57BL/6 mice, an inbred strain commonly used as a genetic disease model.
Corneas from mice aged 2 weeks to 24 months were studied. Light microscopy was used to assess central endothelial cell density and morphology. Transmission electron microscopy was used to assess thickness and ultrastructural features of Descemet membrane (DM).
Central corneal endothelial cell density showed a rapid decline from 5232 ± 892 cells/mm2 (mean ± S.D.) at 2 weeks to 2532 ± 112 cells/mm2 at 16 weeks of age. Thereafter, cell density declined more slowly, reaching 2004 ± 134 cells/mm2 at 24 months of age. DM thickness showed an approximately linear increase from 1.12 ± 0.22 µm (mean ± S.D.) at 2 weeks to 4.19 ± 1.17 µm at 24 months of age. DM in 2 and 6 week age groups was composed entirely of material with an electron dense, periodic banding pattern. Sixteen week, 12 month, and 24 month age groups exhibited an additional, progressively thicker, homogeneous layer lacking periodic banding. The observed age–dependent thickening of DM was predominantly due to accumulation of the posterior, non–banded layer.
In C57BL/6 mice, central endothelial cell density declines with age and DM progressively thickens due to accumulation of a posterior, non–banded portion. These age–associated changes are strikingly similar to observations in humans and thus further support the potential usefulness of the mouse model for studying disorders of the corneal endothelium and Descemet membrane.
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