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In vivo comparison of three different porous materials intended for use in a keratoprosthesis
  1. Xin Yi Wu,
  2. A Tsuk,
  3. H M Leibowitz,
  4. V Trinkaus-Randall
  1. Boston University School of Medicine Boston, USA
  1. Vickery Trinkaus-Randall, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine, 80 E Concord Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


AIM The goal was to compare the biological response of the corneal stroma with three porous materials: a melt blown microfibre web of polybutylene:polypropylene (80:20); a polyester spun laced fabric (polyethylene terephthalate), and an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. Fifty per cent of each of the materials were modified using argon radio frequency.

METHODS Discs (6 mm in diameter) were inserted into interlamellar stromal pockets and followed for a period of 12 weeks. Clinical evaluations were performed weekly. At 6 and 12 weeks, fibroplasia and the distribution of matrix proteins and growth factors (bFGF and TGF-β) were evaluated immunohistochemically. The characterisation of glycosaminoglycans was determined after selective extraction and digestion.

RESULTS The response to the disc resembled that of a wound with a decrease in keratan sulphate and an increase in dermatan sulphate. Pretreatment of the discs reduced corneal oedema and neovascularisation. Heparan sulphate, not normally detected in the corneal stroma, was detected in the region immediately surrounding the disc and in the discs of some materials. The presence of glycosaminoglycans and collagens in the disc indicated that cells had migrated into the disc and deposited a complex matrix in all three materials. The collagen response was not surface specific. bFGF and TGF-β were detected in the region between the disc and the stroma in the polybutylene material and became diffuse with time.

CONCLUSION Fibroplasia occurred most rapidly into the polyester discs but was accompanied by a large number of inflammatory cells. While the distribution of collagens was not altered by the material, the expression and distribution of growth factors was material dependent. bFGF was expressed transiently and occurred before that of TGF-β. It is predicted that the transient expression of growth factors mediates the regulation of matrix proteins.

  • synthetic cornea
  • basic fibroblast growth factor
  • glycosaminoglycans
  • wound healing
  • cornea

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