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Evaluation of stability and biocompatibility of PHEMA-PMMA keratoprosthesis by penetrating keratoplasty in rabbits


Artificial corneas have been developed as an alternative to natural donor tissue to replace damaged or diseased corneas. This study was conducted to evaluate the stability and biocompatibility of PHEMAPMMA [poly (2-hydroxyl methacrylate)-poly (methyl methacrylate)] keratoprostheses in rabbits following penetrating keratoplasty. Sixteen male New Zealand White rabbits aged 16 weeks were divided into three groups. Group I and group II contained six rabbits each, while the control group had four rabbits. Experimental surgery was conducted under general anesthesia. The cornea was penetrated using an 8 mm diameter biopsy punch. In group I (core 5 mm & skirt 3 mm) and group II (core 6 mm & skirt 2 mm), the keratoprosthesis was placed into the recipient full thickness bed and sutured into position with double-layer continuous. In the control group, corneal transplantation using normal allogenic corneal tissue was performed with the same suture method. After four and eight weeks, keratoprosthesis devices were evaluated by histopathological analysis of gross lesions. Post-operative complications were observed, such as extrusion and infection in experimental groups. Most corneas were maintained in the defect site by double-layer continuous suture materials for 4 weeks and kept good light transmission. However, most artificial cornea were extruded before 8 weeks. Overall, combined PHEMA and PMMA appears to have sufficient advantages for production of artificial corneas because of its optical transparency, flexibility and other mechanical features. However, the stability and biocompatibility were not sufficient to enable application in humans and animals at the present time using penetrating keratoplasty. Further studies are essential to improve the stability and biocompatibility with or without other types of keratoplasty.


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Correspondence to Gonhyung Kim.

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Hwang, Y., Kim, G. Evaluation of stability and biocompatibility of PHEMA-PMMA keratoprosthesis by penetrating keratoplasty in rabbits. Lab Anim Res 32, 181–186 (2016).

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