The cornea is the most commonly transplanted tissue in the body. Although corneal grafts generally have high success rates, transplantation onto inflamed and vascularized host beds, or so-called high-risk corneal transplantation, has a high rate of graft rejection. The management of this high-risk corneal transplantation is challenging and involves numerous measures. One of the key measures to prevent graft rejection in these cases is the use of systemic immunosuppressive agents. In this article, we will review the systemic immunosuppressive agents most commonly used for high-risk corneal transplantation, which include corticosteroids, cysclosporine A, tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and rapamycin. Benefits, risks, and published data on the use of these medications for high-risk corneal transplantation will be detailed. We will also summarize novel immunoregulatory approaches that may be used to prevent graft rejection in high-risk corneal transplantation.
Keywords: Corneal Transplantation; Graft Rejection; High-risk Graft; Immunomodulation; Immunosuppression.