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J Cataract Refract Surg. 2006 Oct;32(10):1741-7.

Cellular effects of mitomycin-C on human corneas after photorefractive keratectomy.

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Department of Academic Ophthalmology, Rayne Institute, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.



To investigate the effects of mitomycin-C (MMC) on epithelial and keratocyte cell kinetics after photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) using an in vitro human cornea model.


Department of Academic Ophthalmology, Rayne Institute, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Twenty-four human eye-bank corneas were placed in a specially designed acrylic corneal holder and cultured using the air-interface organ culture technique for up to 4 weeks. The corneas were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 consisted of 8 human corneas that had -9.00 diopter (D) myopic PRK without MMC application. Group 2 consisted of 8 corneas that had -9.00 D PRK with MMC (0.2 microg/mL) application for 1 minute on the stromal surface after ablation. Group 3 consisted of 8 corneas that had -9.00 D PRK with 2-minute exposure to MMC (0.2 microg/mL). Temporal events in epithelial and keratocyte cell kinetics were evaluated using digital imaging, confocal microscopy, and light microscopy.


Epithelial latency was significantly delayed with MMC application in Groups 2 and 3 (P<.001). Epithelial migration was delayed in Group 3 (2-minute exposure) compared to migration in Group 2 (P<.04), with a consequent delay in epithelial closure (P<.001). Group 3 corneas had poorly differentiated epithelium that was significantly thinner than in Groups 1 and 2 (P<.0001). A significant delay in keratocyte regeneration occurred after MMC application (P<.0005). At 4 weeks, the anterior stromal cell density was significantly lower in Group 3 than Group 2 (P<.001). There were no significant differences in the mid- and posterior stromal keratocyte density between the groups.


Results suggest that epithelial healing after MMC is characterized by prolonged latency and decreased migration rate dependent on exposure time. Mitomycin C application did not result in increased loss of keratocytes, but it significantly delayed keratocyte repopulation in the anterior stroma. The use of MMC 0.2 microg/mL for 1 minute resulted in optimum modulation of healing characterized by reduced keratocyte activation with normal epithelial differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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