Development of retrocorneal membrane following pig-to-monkey penetrating keratoplasty

Academic Article


  • © 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Recent reports of long-term survival after wild-type (WT) pig-to-monkey corneal xenotransplantation are encouraging. We experienced the rapid development of retrocorneal membranes, a rare complication after corneal allotransplantation (although seen in infants and young children). The original specific aim of the study was to determine the factors associated with successful (young) pig corneal transplantation in monkeys. However, when it was obvious that retrocorneal membranes rapidly developed, our aims became to determine the factors involved in its development after both WT and Genetically engineered (GE) pig corneal xenotransplantation and to investigate the characteristics of the retrocorneal membrane. Rhesus monkeys were recipients of penetrating keratoplasty using WT and GE pigs (n=2, respectively, 1-3 months old). Local/systemic steroids were administered for 3 months. Grafts were evaluated by slit lamp for corneal transparency, edema, and neovascularization. Hematoxylin and eosin, Masson trichrome staining, and immunohistochemical analysis were performed. Gal staining was also carried out to distinguish the origin of the membrane. All penetrating keratoplasty recipients developed fibrous retrocorneal membranes in the early post-transplantation period, regardless of whether the graft was from a WT or GE pig. There were no features of rejection, with no cell infiltrate in the graft or anterior chamber during the three-month follow-up. There was no difference in the clinical course between the two groups (WT or GE corneas). Immunohistochemistry indicated that the retrocorneal membranes were CK negative, α-SMA positive, and vimentin positive, suggesting that they were of fibrous (keratocytic) origin. Also, the membrane was Gal positive, suggesting that it is derived from pig cornea. Following pig-to-monkey corneal xenotransplantation, we report that retrocorneal membranes are derived from donor pig keratocytes. Prevention of retrocorneal membranes will be necessary to achieve successful corneal xenotransplantation.
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    Author List

  • Lee W; Mammen A; Dhaliwal DK; Long C; Miyagawa Y; Ayares D; Cooper DKC; Hara H
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 1