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12 March 2014 : Original article  

Impact of donor health on corneal biochemistry – an unexpected caveat from a pilot study

Tomasz KryczkaACDEF, Stanisław J. ChrapustaCDE, Jacek P. SzaflikBF, Jerzy SzaflikAB, Anna MidelfartDEFG

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.890215

Ann Transplant 2014; 19:129-137


BACKGROUND: To test the possibility that some chronic systemic maladies not directly related to the function of the eye may significantly and permanently disturb corneal metabolism.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Contents of selected low molecular weight metabolites were compared among corneas collected from donors who died suddenly of an accident or non-poisoning suicide, or met a sudden non-accidental death from unidentified causes, or died of a chronic cardiovascular disease or of idiopathic liver cirrhosis (N=4 for each group). Corneal buttons were halved; one half was snap-frozen and stored at –80°C, and the other half was stored at +4°C in Eusol-C for 8 days and then was snap-frozen and stored at –80°C until analyzed. Metabolite contents were assessed using high-resolution magic angle spinning proton NMR spectroscopy.

RESULTS: Significant between-group differences in corneal biochemical profiles were identified. Most of them were reduced or nullified by the Eusol-C storage, suggesting their link to differences in in vivo corneal environment. The corneas from donors with liver cirrhosis or cardiovascular diseases differed considerably from the remaining ones, both before and after the Eusol-C storage.

CONCLUSIONS: Various chronic systemic diseases that are not directly related to the function of the eye markedly affect corneal biochemistry. Some of the alterations are likely related to a permanent aberration in corneal metabolism. A study is warranted in larger donor groups on the effect of idiopathic liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular diseases on corneal metabolism and/or a retrospective analysis of the long-term outcome of keratoplasty and other grafting procedures employing materials from these donor groups.

Keywords: cornea biochemistry, cornea grafting, cold storage, Metabolomics, NMR spectroscopy, Cause of Death

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358