Objective: To investigate the immunosuppressive effect of rapamycin in prolonging allograft survival in the rat model of orthotopic allogeneic penetrating keratoplasty.
Design: Thirty inbred Lewis rats received corneal allografts from Brown Norway donors. Animals were divided into two rapamycin treatment groups and one allogeneic control group.
Results: By the second week after surgery, all of the control animals had experienced allograft failure due to allograft rejection. However, allografts in seven of 10 animals in the low-dose treatment group and allografts in seven of nine animals in the high-dose treatment group remained clear. In addition, corneal neovascularization was markedly reduced in the treated animals.
Conclusions: The systemic administration of rapamycin prolongs corneal allograft survival and significantly inhibits the neovascular component of rejection in the rat model of orthotopic allogeneic penetrating keratoplasty.