Purpose: To study metabolic changes of the human cornea during organ-culture. Morphological changes have been extensively studied, whereas changes in human corneal metabolism have not been investigated yet.
Material and methods: 106 human corneas were stored for 1, 7, 15, 18, 21 and 28 days in a closed-system under standard eyebank conditions. After storage, glucose, lactate, ATP, ADP and AMP concentrations were determined in each cornea.
Results: Glucose concentration decreased during the first two weeks with a minimum on day 15. ATP and ADP concentrations increased during the same period of time, but had their minimum later, on day 18. Lactate increased during the culture period up to day 21 and decreased thereafter.
Conclusion: From these data we conclude that the human cornea recovers during organ-culture, especially during the first two weeks. The changes occurring after a fortnight might be related to the artificial culture conditions. Nevertheless, the metabolic status is better than in post-mortem corneas. The changes may be partly avoided by changing the medium after at least two weeks of organ-culture.