Changes Observed in Keratolimbal Allograft

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To study the incidence and clinical characteristics of presumed immunologic reactions in limbal grafts after keratolimbal allograft(KLAL).


A total of 121 KLALs performed in consecutive 85 eyes of 78 patients with total limbal stem-cell deficiency were analyzed retrospectively. Mean follow-up period was 46.6 months. Three types of limbal graft changes classified as epithelial defects, acute edema, and vascular engorgement were analyzed as probable signs of immunologic rejection.


One or more changes in limbal grafts were observed after 16 KLALs (13.1%). All but 1 eye used systemic and local immunosuppression using corticosteroid and cyclosporine A, and most of the changes developed within 3 months postoperatively. All but 2 eyes developed epithelial breakdown in the central cornea, and 12 corneas underwent conjunctivalization. The rate of corneal epithelialization in eyes with limbal graft changes was significantly worse than those without the changes (P < 0.0001). Histologic examination in eyes with the limbal graft changes revealed high incidence of lymphocyte infiltration.


Presumed limbal graft rejection occurred in approximately 13% of cases after KLAL. Suppression of the immune reaction remains a key to success in KLAL.

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