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Natalia Vázquez, Carlos A. Rodríguez-Barrientos, Salvador D. Aznar-Cervantes, Manuel Chacón, José L. Cenis, Ana C. Riestra, Ronald M. Sánchez-Avila, Mairobi Persinal, Agustín Brea-Pastor, Luis Fernández-Vega Cueto, Álvaro Meana, Jesús Merayo-Lloves; Silk Fibroin Films for Corneal Endothelial Regeneration: Transplant in a Rabbit Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(9):3357-3365. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-21797.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Develop a silk fibroin (SF)-based artificial endothelial graft for its use in a rabbit Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).
Human and rabbit artificial corneal endothelial grafts were developed through the culture of human and rabbit corneal endothelial cells (CECs) on SF films. Rabbit artificial SF endothelial grafts were transplanted in a DMEK surgery into a rabbit in vivo model.
SF artificial endothelial grafts showed the characteristic endothelial markers: zonula occludens (ZO-1) and Na+/K+ ATPase. In a rabbit model of DMEK surgery, SF artificial endothelial graft restored the corneal transparency and thickness at 6 week of follow-up. Anterior segment optical coherence tomography revealed the SF graft as a fully integrated component in the corneal tissue, displaying a similar corneal thickness and endothelial cell count when compared with its healthy contralateral cornea. Histologic analysis showed that the SF artificial endothelial graft was attached and integrated on the surface of the corneal stroma without a significant inflammatory reaction, and rabbit CECs consisted in a monolayer that showed their characteristic markers ZO-1 and Na+/K+ ATPase, suggesting proper intercellular junctions and cellular pump function.
We have developed SF films with biological properties that supported the growth of rabbit and human CECs, which showed normal morphology and characteristic markers; and with mechanical properties that allowed its use in a DMEK surgery, proving its in vivo functionality in a rabbit model of endothelial dysfunction.
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