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Longterm survival of transplanted corneal epithelial cells and corneal stem cells.

Journal article
Authors M Egarth
J Hellkvist
M Clesson
Charles Hanson
Ulf Stenevi
Published in Acta Opthalmologica Scandinavica
Volume 83
Pages 456-61
ISSN pISSN: 1395-3907
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Section of Ophtalmology
Institute of Clinical Neurosciences
Pages 456-61
Language en
Links doi:10.1111/j.1600-0420.2005.00485....
Keywords cornea - progenitor cells - stem cells - survival - penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) - transplantation - human
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


PURPOSE: To investigate the survival of donor-derived epithelial cells in conventional penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) and in homologous penetrating central limbal keratoplasty (HPCLK). METHODS AND PATIENTS: Epithelial cells from 26 eyes of 26 patients were analysed. All cases were sex-mismatched (i.e. the transplant and patient were of different genders). At suture removal more than 1 year post surgery, epithelial cells were obtained by gently wiping the removed sutures on glass slides. The cell samples were analysed using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of the sex chromosomes. This technique makes it possible to allocate the origin of each cell nucleus to either the donor or the recipient. RESULTS: All 19 conventional PKPs were clear and seven had donor-derived epithelial cells at suture removal. Five of the seven HPCLK grafts were clear at the time of investigation (365--1355 days post surgery), and donor-derived epithelial cells were found in two grafts. CONCLUSION: Harvesting cells from removed sutures in combination with FISH enables the clinical study of cell survival in corneal transplants without jeopardizing functioning grafts. From the limited sample investigated, the following tentative conclusions can be made. Donor-derived epithelial cells can remain in conventional PKP for over 1 year. In combined stem cell and corneal grafts (HPCLK), donor-derived epithelial cells may also be retrieved at 1 year or beyond following surgery but the correlation between their presence and a remaining clear graft is uncertain.

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