Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research;Volume 66 Number 2


A pilot study of transplantation of an autologous corneal epithelial cell sheet in a canine model of corneal injury

Nam, Eunryel;Fujita, Naoki;Morita, Maresuke;Lin, Hsing-Yi;Endo, Kentaro;Nakagawa, Takayuki;Nishimura, Ryohei;Tsuzuki, Keiko

Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2115/70494
JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jjvr.66.2.83
KEYWORDS : Corneal regeneration;corneal epithelial cell sheet;canine corneal injury;collagen gel;autologous transplantation


Corneal transplantation is the most effective method of restoring corneal transparency. However, graft rejection due to immunoreaction may occur and prevent proper healing of the wounded corneal surface. To address this issue, we transplanted an autologous corneal epithelial sheet into the wounded corneal surface of a dog and evaluated the sheet’s efficiency and safety for clinical use. Four dogs with a wounded corneal surface— three experimental dogs receiving transplanted corneal epithelial cell sheets and a control dog who did not receive the transplant. We removed the entire layers of corneal epithelium and superficial stroma from each dog. Corneal epithelial sheets were cultivated from autologous limbal segments and were transplanted 21 days after removing the three dogs’corneal surfaces. The dog that did not undergo transplantation was euthanized 60 days after receiving corneal injury. The corneas of dogs in the transplantation group were collected 60 days after the transplant. Results: Corneal transparency was restored in the transplantation group. One dog in the transplantation group showed immunoreaction to the sutures. However, corneal opacity and neovascularization were negligible 60 days after the transplant in the transplantation group. In addition, the control dog showed opacity of the corneal surface. The transplanted areas each showed hyperproliferation in the epithelium and hypercellularity in the stroma. The stem/progenitor markers for a healing corneal surface also showed patterns similar to a normal cornea. We believe that the transplantation of an autologous sheet may restore corneal transparency and prevent irreversible opacity caused by severe injury.