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Therapeutic efficiency of tissue-engineered human corneal endothelium transplants on rabbit primary corneal endotheliopathy

Ting-jun FAN 1,Jun ZHAO 1,Xiu-zhong HU 1,Xi-ya MA 1,Wen-bo ZHANG 1,Chao-zhong YANG 2 (1 Key Laboratory for Corneal Tissue Engineering,College of Marine Life Sciences,Ocean University of China,Qingdao 266003,China) (2 Qingdao Dongfang Eye Hospital,Qingdao 266110,China)  
To evaluate the therapeutic efficiency of tissue-engineered human corneal endothelia (TE-HCEs) on rabbit primary corneal endotheliopathy (PCEP),TE-HCEs reconstructed with monoclonal human corneal endothelial cells (mcHCECs) and modified denuded amniotic membranes (mdAMs) were transplanted into PCEP models of New Zealand white rabbits using penetrating keratoplasty.The TE-HCEs were examined using diverse techniques including slit-lamp biomicroscopy observation and pachymeter and tonometer measurements in vivo,and fluorescent microscopy,alizarin red staining,paraffin sectioning,scanning and transmission electron microscopy observations in vitro.The corneas of transplanted eyes maintained transparency for as long as 200 d without obvious edema or immune rejection.The corneal thickness of transplanted eyes decreased gradually after transplanting,reaching almost the thickness of normal eyes after 156 d,while the TE-HCE non-transplanted eyes were turbid and showed obvious corneal edema.The polygonal corneal endothelial cells in the transplanted area originated from the TE-HCE transplant.An intact monolayer corneal endothelium had been reconstructed with the morphology,cell density and structure similar to those of normal rabbit corneal endothelium.In conclusion,the transplanted TE-HCE can reconstruct the integrality of corneal endothelium and restore corneal transparency and thickness in PCEP rabbits.The TE-HCE functions normally as an endothelial barrier and pump and promises to be an equivalent of HCE for clinical therapy of human PCEP.
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