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Donor and recipient endothelial cell population of the transplanted human cornea: a two-dimensional imaging study.

Journal article
Authors Neil Lagali
Ulf Stenevi
Margareta Claesson
Per Fagerholm
Charles Hanson
Birgitta Weijdegård
Anne-Sophie Strömbeck
Published in Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
Volume 51
Issue 4
Pages 1898-904
ISSN 1552-5783
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Pages 1898-904
Language en
Keywords Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cell Count, Cell Survival, physiology, Chromosomes, Human, X, metabolism, Chromosomes, Human, Y, metabolism, Corneal Transplantation, Endothelium, Corneal, cytology, metabolism, Female, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Male, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Reoperation, Tissue Donors, Transplantation
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Purpose. To elucidate the pattern of donor and recipient endothelial cell populations in transplanted human corneas and determine the degree to which donor endothelial cells survive in the graft. Methods. Thirty-six corneal grafts were collected from recipients of opposite sex to the donor, at the time of retransplantation for various indications. Cells from the endothelial side of the grafts were harvested, preserving their relative location on the endothelium. Fluorescence in situ hybridization of the sex chromosomes enabled each cell to be identified as donor- or recipient-derived. Images of the graft endothelium were assembled, to depict the pattern of cell population of the graft, and the proportion of donor cells present was estimated. Results. Endothelial cells of donor origin were found in 26 of 36 grafts (72.2%)-in one case, up to 26 years after transplantation. The proportion of donor endothelium ranged from 2% to 99%; however, there was no significant correlation of this proportion with postoperative time (P = 0.19). The mean annual rate of donor cell loss correlated negatively with the time to graft failure by endothelial decompensation (P = 0.002). Endothelial images indicated a highly variable pattern of recipient cell repopulation of the graft. A tendency toward donor cell retention in transparent, successful grafts was noted; however, this feature alone was not a reliable indicator of long-term graft transparency. Conclusions. Two-dimensional imaging of the corneal graft endothelium revealed a variable pattern and extent of donor and recipient cell population, indicating the highly dynamic nature of the corneal endothelium after transplantation.

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