Preparation and Biomechanical Properties of an Acellular Porcine Corneal Stroma

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Abstract

Purpose:

To construct an acellular porcine corneal stroma (aPCS) as a human corneal stroma alternative and to further explore its biomechanical properties.

Methods:

A combination of DNA-RNA enzymes and ultrasound technology was used to strip the native porcine corneal cells. The microstructure of aPCS was observed by H&E staining, DAPI staining, and α-Gal tests. The mechanical properties were detected by a tension machine. Cytotoxicity of aPCS was measured by the MTT assay. The subcutaneous embedding experiment in rats was also used to detect immunity and degradation. The aPCS was transplanted into the rabbit cornea by lamellar keratoplasty, general observations were made at 3 days, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after implantation, respectively.

Results:

The microstructure and mechanical properties of aPCS were not damaged during the decellularization process. The aPCS extracts had no significant cytotoxicity on human corneal stroma cells. Moreover, the subcutaneous embedding experiment in rats demonstrated that aPCS could not be degraded and induced no immune reaction in and around the transplanted discs. More important is that the aPCS reconstructed normal corneal stroma and maintained corneal transparency and thickness, with almost no neovascularization and inflammation at 3 months after surgery.

Conclusions:

The aPCS prepared in this study had good biocompatibility, safety, and low antigenicity, which has great potential for corneal disease treatment.

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