Authors: Shweta Kamthan, Jyoti Singh, Kamalika Banerjee, Pradip K. Roy Choudhury and James Gomes
Diseases of the cornea is the major cause of blindness worldwide. Corneal diseases cause scarring which finally results in functional blindness. Once opacity occurs, corneal transparency can only be restored by keratoplasty, a
surgical procedure during which the defective cornea is replaced with donor cornea. However, there is an acute shortage of donor cornea and high incidence of graft rejection. Hence, researchers have been trying to develop artificial cornea by cell culture. In normal practice, the remaining rim of the donor cornea is discarded after transplantation. We developed a new dissection and primary culture protocol that utilizes the discarded corneal
rim as a source of cells for in vitro corneal research. Using the protocol, we cultured the epithelium, stroma and endothelium cells of cornea from donors aged 45 and 72 years. We observed that the three cell-types from the cornea rim exhibited morphology and proliferation rates similar to those from the cornea center. Our results showed that corneal rims, irrespective of donor age, are a good source of cells for in vitro corneal cell culture.
Keywords: cell culture, cell morphology, corneal rim, keratoplasty, proliferation rate, viable cell density