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SS Lin, EK Wong, J Graff, R Chuck, H Agnic, N Hoang, M Cho, MS Hatch, H Kostam, P McDonnel; Neurotrophic Keratitis: A Rat Model Demonstrating a New Observation in Epithelial Loss After Lesion of V1 . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):65.
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Purpose: To study neurotrophic keratitis in the rat model by ablating the V1 branch of the trigeminal nerve. Methods: Stereotactic surgery with a ventral approach through the soft tissues of the mandible results in excellent localization and precise destruction of the V1 branch of the trigeminal nerve as it exits the trigeminal ganglion. Using thermocautery, it was possible to document precise localization of the lesion to V1. The corneas of 16 Sprague-Dawley rats were mechanically debrided and observed at 6-hour intervals for at least 72 hours in an effort to document the pattern of regrowth of corneal epithelium. Corneal defects were measured and photographed during each observation. Digital photography was performed under cobalt-blue light illumination after fluorescein staining of the corneas. Results: The average healing time of control corneas was 2.5 days, while healing of treated rats was not fully complete after 4 days. Of the 16 rats, 5 demonstrated marked delayed healing in the upper half of the cornea, while none of the rats showed delayed healing in the lower half of the cornea. Conclusion: This animal model demonstrates specific localization of V1 lesions to the upper half of the cornea. It appears that total corneal neurotrophic keratitis will require the ablation of both V1 and V2. This has implications for future research in neurotrophic keratitis and for clinical applications in man.
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