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Open Access Clinical Transplantation of Individualized Recipient Serum-Adapted Cornea Reduces the Risk of Graft Rejection After Keratoplasty

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Corneal diseases cause severe visual impairment that necessitates corneal transplantation and frequently repetitive procedures due to graft rejection. We tested the hypothesis that exposure of donor corneas to recipient serum-derived factors during eye banking triggers a preoperative adaptation that is beneficial for postoperative tolerance. Donor corneas were incubated in a medium containing human serum (HS) obtained in each case from the prospective graft recipient in order to individually expose the donor cornea to the recipient's serum. All recipient serum-adapted corneas (RSACs) fulfilled the clinical criteria required by the national law and were transplanted successfully. The postoperative ophthalmological examination extended up to 8 years. All RSACs were tolerated by their recipients and did not cause postoperative complications and no rejection. Proteomic analysis of corneas cultivated in culture medium containing either fetal calf serum (FCS) that is routinely used for cornea banking or HS revealed different patterns of proteins. HS-cultured corneas showed a greater proteomic similarity with native human corneas than did the FCS-cultured corneas, indicating a differential nutrification of the cultured corneal tissue by HS-derived factors. The clinical results show for the first time that postoperative complications such as tissue intolerance and graft rejection might be managed if the corneal tissue is individually adapted to the recipient's serum trophic factors. This new donor tissue treatment procedure offers incontrovertible advantages and could be adapted for low-risk eyes as well as other transplantable tissues.

Keywords: Cornea culture; Cornea diseases; Graft rejection; Keratoplasty

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Experimental Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

Publication date: 2013-03-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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