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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jan;50(1):352-7. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2300. Epub 2008 Aug 15.

Exogenous collagen cross-linking reduces scleral permeability: modeling the effects of age-related cross-link accumulation.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0730, USA.



To investigate the relationship between scleral permeability and nonenzymatic cross-link density.


Scleral discs 18 mm in diameter were dissected from the medial and lateral equatorial regions of 60 cadaveric porcine eyes. Samples were incubated for 24 hours with control solution or methylglyoxal at concentrations of 0.001%, 0.01%, 0.10%, and 1.00%. Nonenzymatic cross-link density in treated and control groups was quantified with the use of papain digest and fluorescence spectrophotometry. Treated scleral discs were mounted in a customized Ussing-type chamber connected to vertical tubing, and specific hydraulic conductivity was determined according to the descent of a column of degassed saline at room temperature. Permeability to diffusion of fluorescein in a static chamber was determined for another set of treated scleral samples.


Methylglyoxal treatment effectively increased nonenzymatic cross-link content, as indicated by the average fluorescence for each group. Specific hydraulic conductivity (m(2)) was reduced with increasing cross-link density. Similarly, the permeability coefficient for the fluorescein solute consistently decreased with increasing methylglyoxal concentration, indicating diffusion impedance from the treatment.


Nonenzymatic cross-link density can be significantly increased by treatment with methylglyoxal. Porcine sclera showed a nonlinear reduction in solute permeability and specific hydraulic conductivity with increasing cross-link density. This model indicates that age-related nonenzymatic cross-link accumulation can have a substantial impact on scleral permeability.

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