Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Regenerative Capacitiy of Endothelial Cells in the Periphery of the Human Cornea

Weißmann J.1, Aintablian A.1, Engelmann K.2, Bednarz J.1
1Dept. of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Hamburg; 2Dept. of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, Dresden

Purpose: In previous studies we had shown, that endothelial cells with proliferative capacity could be isolated from the periphery of the cornea only. We assumed a regeneration zone in the periphery of the corneal endothelium comparable to the situation in the epithelium although no proliferating endothelial cells are found in vivo. In this study we examined whether human corneal endothelial cells can be induced to proliferate and how induction of proliferation may be achieved.
Method: We investigated endothelial cell proliferation using either scleral rims about 5 hours after the center of the cornea has been used for keratoplasty or whole donor corneas that were not suitable for keratoplasty. The Descemet membranes of these corneas were separated into three zones by means of 6.5 and 9.0 mm diameter trephines. After 5 hours of incubation in medium Descement membrane with the attached endothelial cells was peeled off by means of fine forceps. Expression of the proliferation associated protein Ki67 or incorporation of BrdU was analysed by means of monoclonal antibodies.
Results: Endothelium from five scleral rims was analysed for expression of Ki67, that from other four rims for BrdU incorporation. Stained cells were found in all nine preparations.

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