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Carla S. Medeiros, Paramananda Saikia, Rodrigo Carlos de Oliveira, Luciana Lassance, Marcony R. Santhiago, Steven E. Wilson; Descemet's Membrane Modulation of Posterior Corneal Fibrosis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(4):1010-1020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-26451.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of removal of Descemet's basement membrane and endothelium compared with removal of the endothelium alone on posterior corneal fibrosis.
Twelve New Zealand White rabbits were included in the study. Six eyes had removal of the Descemet's membrane–endothelial complex over the central 8 mm of the cornea. Six eyes had endothelial removal with an olive-tipped cannula over the central 8 mm of the cornea. All corneas developed stromal edema. Corneas in both groups were cryofixed in optimum cutting temperature (OCT) formula at 1 month after surgery. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed for α-smooth muscle actin (SMA), keratocan, CD45, nidogen-1, vimentin, and Ki-67, and a TUNEL assay was performed to detect apoptosis.
Six of six corneas that had Descemet's membrane–endothelial removal developed posterior stromal fibrosis populated with SMA+ myofibroblasts, whereas zero of six corneas that had endothelial removal alone developed fibrosis or SMA+ myofibroblasts (P < 0.01). Myofibroblasts in the fibrotic zone of corneas that had Descemet's membrane–endothelial removal were undergoing both mitosis and apoptosis at 1 month after surgery. A zone between keratocan+ keratocytes and SMA+ myofibroblasts contained keratocan-SMA-vimentin+ cells that were likely CD45− corneal fibroblasts and CD45+ fibrocytes.
Descemet's basement membrane has an important role in modulating posterior corneal fibrosis after injury that is analogous to the role of the epithelial basement membrane in modulating anterior corneal fibrosis after injury. Fibrotic areas had myofibroblasts undergoing mitosis and apoptosis, indicating that fibrosis is in dynamic flux.
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