Induction of conjunctival transdifferentiation on vascularized corneas by photothrombotic occlusion of corneal neovascularization

Ophthalmology. 1988 Feb;95(2):228-35. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(88)33211-2.


Previous studies have established that conjunctival transdifferentiation (transformation into cornea-like morphology) is inhibited by corneal vascularization. Conversely, occlusion of corneal vessels may induce conjunctival transdifferentiation on vascularized corneas. To test this hypothesis, the corneal epithelia of New Zealand albino rabbits were debrided 3 mm beyond the limbus with n-heptanol. Sixteen corneas healed by conjunctival epithelium, with vascularization persisting for 20 months, were used in this study. Photochemically induced occlusion of the corneal vessels was achieved by intravenous administration of rose bengal-saline solution (40 mg/kg body weight) with subsequent argon laser irradiation of the vessels (514.5 nm, 130 mW, 63 micron and 0.2 sec). The treated vessels remained occluded in an 18-week study, as confirmed by corneal fluorescein angiography. Corneal clarity and epithelial integrity were improved after treatment. Goblet cell loss and morphologic transformation into a cornea-like epithelium were verified by flat-mount preparations, histology, impression cytology, and immunofluorescence studies using a mucin-specific monoclonal antibody. These results indicate that conjunctival transdifferentiation can be induced on vascularized corneas after occlusion of corneal vessels by photothrombosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Conjunctiva / cytology*
  • Cornea / blood supply
  • Cornea / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic* / physiopathology
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Rabbits
  • Rose Bengal / therapeutic use*
  • Thrombosis
  • Wound Healing


  • Rose Bengal