Evaluation of potential organ culture media for eye banking using human donor corneas
- aDepartment of Ophthalmology, Århus University Hospital, 8000 Århus C, Denmark, bAugenklinik der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, D-30625 Hannover, Germany, cDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry, Århus University Hospital, 8000 Århus C, Denmark, dUniversitäts-Augenklinik Hamburg, Martinistrasse 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany
- Torben Møller-Pedersen, MD, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, Århus University Hospital, DK-8000 Århus C, Denmark
- Accepted 27 March 2001
AIM To evaluate the ability of different commercially available cell culture solutions to preserve human donor corneas during 3 weeks of “closed system” organ culture at physiological temperature. This screening was performed in an attempt to establish a rational basis for the development of a serum-free organ culture medium for eye banking.
METHODS 72 normal human donor corneas were organ cultured for 21 days at 31°C in eight different test media (nine corneas in each group). The basic culture solutions included: minimal essential medium (MEM), MEM with stabilised l-glutamine, M199, DIF-1000, SFM, F99, and F99 with ascorbic acid, insulin, bFGF, transferrin, selenium, and lipids (termed F99-Sr). All media were supplemented with 2% fetal calf serum (FCS), except for MEM, which was also studied at 8% FCS. The evaluation parameters included: (1) the endothelial cell loss as evaluated using trypan blue staining; (2) the ability of keratocytes and endothelial cells to incorporate tritiated uridine into RNA as evaluated using autoradiography and digital image analysis; (3) the leakage of immunogenic keratan sulphate as assessed using ELISA; and (4) changes in storage medium pH, glucose, and lactate content.
RESULTS SFM induced the lowest endothelial cell loss of 14% (SD 2%) and the highest RNA synthesis rates of all test solutions supplemented with 2% FCS. Corneas stored in SFM also showed the least leakage of keratan sulphate and the highest glucose consumption and lactate production. In five media (MEM with 2% FCS, MEM with stabilised l-glutamine, M199, F99, and F99-Sr), comparable and intermediate potentials for organ culture were observed with endothelial cell loss of 16–19%. By contrast, 29% (4%) of the endothelium was lost after storage in DIF-1000. Interestingly, the use of 8% FCS (in MEM) had a marked protective effect on the endothelium, which showed the highest RNA synthetic activity combined with a cell loss of only 11% (4%), compared with 19% (6%) at 2% FCS (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION Among the present test solutions, SFM appears to be the most prominent candidate for a new corneal organ culture medium and should be further tested and possibly refined to effectively substitute serum addition.