Analysis of glycosaminoglycans in rabbit cornea after excimer laser keratectomy

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The biochemical basis for the development of subepithelial opacity of the cornea after excimer laser keratectomy has yet to be fully defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the alterations of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) after excimer laser keratectomy.


Rabbit corneas were harvested on days 5, 10, 20, and 30 after excimer laser photoablation. The amount of main disaccharide units was determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). In addition, immunohistochemical studies were performed on corneal sections 20 days after the ablation.


The concentrations of ΔDi-0S at 5 and 10 days were significantly lower than before the ablation. ΔDi-6S showed a significant increase 5 days after the ablation but ΔDi-4S did not show any significant change. There was a significant increase in ΔDi-HA at 20 and 30 days after ablation. In immunohistochemistry, the positive staining for ΔDi-6S and hyaluronic acid was observed in the subepithelial region. These immunohistochemical results were well correlated with the HPLC findings.


The increase in chondroitin-6 sulphate and hyaluronic acid may be related to corneal subepithelial opacity after excimer laser keratectomy.

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