Anterior keratocyte depletion in fuchs endothelial dystrophy

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011 May;129(5):555-61. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.344. Epub 2011 Jan 10.


Objective: To determine if keratocyte populations are different in corneas with Fuchs dystrophy compared with control corneas.

Methods: Eleven corneas excised during penetrating keratoplasty for Fuchs dystrophy and 5 control corneas of eyes enucleated for choroidal melanoma were examined using light microscopy. Twenty control corneas age-matched to the corneas with Fuchs dystrophy were examined using confocal microscopy in vivo. The number of keratocytes in a full-thickness column of central stroma with frontal area of 1 mm(2), determined using histologic and confocal methods, was compared between corneas with Fuchs dystrophy and controls.

Results: By histology, the mean (SD) number of cells in a full-thickness column of stroma in Fuchs dystrophy (12 215 [1394] cells) was less than in control corneas (15 628 [710] cells; P < .001). The mean (SD) number of keratocytes in the anterior 10% of the stroma of corneas with Fuchs dystrophy (682 [274] cells) was less than in the control corneas measured using histology (1858 [404] cells; P < .001) and confocal microscopy (1481 [397] cells; P < .001).

Conclusions: Keratocytes are depleted by 54% to 63% in the anterior 10% of the stroma of corneas that require penetrating keratoplasty for Fuchs dystrophy. Keratocyte loss might contribute to anterior stromal changes that persist and degrade vision after endothelial keratoplasty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Count
  • Choroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Choroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Corneal Stroma / pathology*
  • Corneal Stroma / surgery
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / diagnosis*
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy / surgery
  • Humans
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged