Long-term outcome of iron-endocytosing cultured corneal endothelial cell transplantation with magnetic attraction

Exp Eye Res. 2005 Feb;80(2):149-57. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.08.021.


The long-term efficacy and safety of transplanting iron-endocytosing cultured corneal endothelial cells (CECs) with magnetic attraction were evaluated. Rabbit corneas were subjected to cryo-injury to detach CECs. Cultured rabbit CECs (RCEC) were exposed to spherical iron powder and then injected into the anterior chamber, after which a neogium magnet was fixed on the eyelid for 24 hr to attract the cells to Descemet's membrane (RCEC-iron group, n=4). An RCEC group (cryo-injury and injection of normal cultured RCEC, n=4) and a Cryo group (cryo-injury without injection of RCEC, n=4) served as controls. Intraocular pressure was measured for 12 months after surgery. Corneal findings on slit lamp biomicroscopy, RCEC density, the electro-retinogram (ERG), and residual iron in the ocular tissues were evaluated at final assessment. Intraocular pressure did not increase in any group throughout 12 months of observation. At the final assessment, the average corneal edema score of the RCEC-iron group was significantly lower than that of the RCEC or Cryo groups (p=0.021). The average CEC density of the RCEC-iron group was 2581+/-230 cells mm(-2) (mean+/-SD), whereas no CECs were observed on the inner surface of the central cornea in the RCEC and Cryo groups. No significant differences of the ERG (a- and b-wave amplitudes, and b-wave/a-wave ratio) were detected among the groups. Iron powder was not detected by Berlin blue staining in the ocular tissues of the RCEC-iron group. Apoptotic cells were not observed in the endothelium by terminal transferase-mediated nick-end labeling. Transplanted iron-endocytosing RCEC remained viable for 12 months after surgery. There were no detectable ocular complications after the transplantation of iron-endocytosing cultured RCEC. Magnetic attachment of iron-endocytosing CECs can be an effective and safe method for corneal endothelial repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Chamber
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Corneal Injuries
  • Corneal Transplantation / methods*
  • Descemet Membrane / pathology
  • Electroretinography
  • Endocytosis*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Corneal / transplantation*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / ultrastructure
  • Graft Survival
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Magnetics / therapeutic use*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rabbits


  • Iron