Transplantation of corneas reconstructed with cultured adult human corneal endothelial cells in nude rats

Exp Eye Res. 2004 Aug;79(2):231-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.05.001.


Purpose: The feasibility of corneal reconstruction with cultured adult human corneal endothelial cells (HCEC) was examined in a nude rat model.

Methods: Endothelial cells were removed from the corneas of Lewis rats using a sterile cotton swab. Cultured adult HCEC labelled with a fluorescent marker chloromethyl-benzamidodialkylcarbocyanine (CM-Dil) were seeded onto the denuded Descemet's membrane. Then the corneas were centrifuged, incubated for 2 days, and transplanted into the eyes of nude rats using the penetrating keratoplasty technique (HCEC group). Control nude received corneas denuded of endothelium and without HCEC. The operated eyes were observed for 28 days after transplantation, and then were subjected to histological and fluorescein microscopic examination.

Results: The mean corneal thickness was significantly smaller in the HCEC group than in the control group throughout the observation period. The corneal endothelial cell density of the grafts at 28 days postoperatively ranged from 2425 to 3250 cells mm(-2) (mean+/-sd, 2744+/-337 cells mm(-2)). Fluorescein microscopy at 28 days after surgery showed numerous DiI-labelled cells on the posterior corneal surface in the HCEC group. Frozen sections showed a monolayer of DiI-labelled cells on Descemet's membrane.

Conclusions: Cultured adult HCEC function well and maintain corneal transparency for 1 month after transplantation in nude rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Corneal Edema / pathology
  • Corneal Transplantation / methods*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / transplantation
  • Endothelium, Corneal / cytology
  • Endothelium, Corneal / transplantation*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rats, Nude