New Strategy to Study Corneal Endothelial Cell Transplantation: The Chick Cornea Model

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Purpose:To set up a culture assay of chick corneal endothelial cells (CECs) for transplantation into host corneas.Methods:Histology sections were performed at 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 embryonic days of development of the chick embryo. Visualization of the gross morphology of CECs and of epithelium, stroma, and Descemet membrane was performed. Transplantation of CECs at 18 embryonic days of development into explanted, denuded from endothelial cell, host corneas of the same stage was attempted.Results:The results from the histological sections clearly indicate that after embryonic day 12, the endothelial cells are well differentiated and the proliferation is complete. Transplanted CECs were able to migrate and integrate into the denuded host corneas.Conclusions:This study demonstrated its feasibility using an easy accessible model of chick cornea. With this technique, sufficient CECs may be obtained for biochemical and functional investigations using only nonhatched chickens that are easily accessible and easy to manipulate.

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