Low-dose ultraviolet-B irradiation of donor corneal endothelium and graft survival

M. R. Dana, S. T. Olkowski, H. Ahmadian, W. J. Stark, E. M. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Donor rabbit corneal endothelium was pretreated with different doses of ultraviolet (UV-B) irradiation (302 nm) before grafting to test whether allograft survival could be favorably affected in comparison with untreated corneas grafted into the same recipients. Endothelial rejection was observed in 19 of 32 (59%) eyes that received no treatment compared with five of 32 (16%) eyes that received UV-B (P < 0.001), and increasing doses of UV-B were associated with lower rejection rates (P < 0.05). Although exposure of donor endothelium significantly reduced endothelial rejection at all doses tested, it resulted in primary graft failure in a substantial proportion of corneas treated at high doses. Class II (Ia) antigen staining of corneal tissue was present in conjunction with clinical evidence of rejection, and the magnitude of staining correlated with the histologic extent of inflammation. Scanning electron microscopy revealed various endothelial cell surface irregularities and membrane defects in high-dose UV-treated corneas. Endothelial cell cultures exposed in vitro to UV-B light showed a dose-dependent loss in cell viability. These data suggest that UV-B pretreatment of donor corneal endothelium prolongs graft survival but that toxic side effects must be carefully controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2261-2268
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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