Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of a novel method of magnetic attraction of iron-endocytosed corneal endothelial cells to Descemet's membrane.
Methods: Cultured rabbit corneal endothelial cells (RCEC) were exposed to spherical iron powder at various concentration ranging 0-100 micro moll(-1). After 24hr, the cell density and morphology were evaluated. RCEC that had been exposed to spherical iron powder (RCEC-iron), were trypsinized and poured onto a culture dish where a neodium magnet was fixated paracentrally. After 24hr, the cell density was measured at the areas with and without a magnet. Rabbits' corneas were cryo-injuried to detach corneal endothelial cells and 1x10(5)/200 micro l RCEC-iron were injected into the anterior chamber. Neogium magnet was fixed on the lid for 24hr to attract RCEC to Descemet's membrane. Each operated eye was observed up to 2 months after the injury. RCEC group (rabbits with cryo-injury and injection of normal cultured RCEC) and cryo group (rabbits with cryo-injury but without injection of RCEC) served as controls.
Results: The RCEC-iron density on the dish decreased in the medium containing iron powder of 10 micro moll(-1) or more. When RCEC had been exposed to iron powder of between 5 and 10 micro moll(-1), the ratio of RCEC in the field with a magnet to RCEC in the field without a magnet increased. In the RCEC-iron group, the mean corneal thickness gradually decreased and was significantly less than in the other two groups at 2, 4, and 8 weeks after the cell injection. Fluorescein microscopic examination showed a monolayer of DiI-labelled cells on the Descemet's membrane.
Conclusion: Magnetic attachment of iron-endocytosed corneal endothelial cells to Descemet's nembrane can be a method of choice for corneal endothelial decompensation.