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Ophthalmologe. 2001 Sep;98(9):818-31.

[Limbus transplantation for reconstruction of the ocular surface].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Augenklinik der Universit├Ąt Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 400, 69120 Heidelberg.


Proliferation of the corneal epithelium originates in undifferentiated, long-lived stem cells that are located in the basal limbal epithelium. Stem cells are important for corneal epithelial regeneration and wound healing. Depletion of stem cells due to accidents as well as malfunctions of stem cells due to inborn or inflammatory diseases result in limbal stem cell deficiency. Limbal deficiency is characterized by conjunctivalization of the cornea with vascularization and opacification. Partial limbal deficiency can be treated by removing ingrown conjunctival epithelium thus allowing normal limbal epithelium to repopulate the cornea. Unilateral limbus-derived stem cell disease requires either limbal autograft transplantation from the healthy partner eye or kerato-limbal allograft transplantation. Several modifications of the latter technique have been performed including large kerato-limbal lamellar grafts and central penetrating kerato-limbal allografts. All homologous procedures render a very high risk of immunological reactions that require long term systemic immunosuppression. The use of amniotic membrane, better pharmacological drugs for immunosuppression and improvements in the HLA-matching of limbal allografts as well as ex vivo expansion of corneal stem cells should allow for better reconstruction of the ocular surface in limbal deficiency.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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