The present study describes biochemical and morphological differences of pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (PBK) corneas as compared with normal corneas. At the ultrastructural level, all PBK corneas studied had abnormal fibrillar material posterior to the Descemet's membrane. In addition, two of the six PBK buttons had sub-epithelial fibrocellular materials disrupting the epithelial basement membrane and Bowman's layer. Aggregates of collagen fibrils with 110 nm periodicity were occasionally seen within the stroma of the PBK corneas. Isolation and purification of the collagen from the Descemet's membrane/posterior collagenous layer (DM/PCL) showed an increased amount of material with molecular weight in the range of 50-60K daltons (presumably type VIII collagen) and decreased amounts of higher molecular weight, disul-fide-bonded collagenous materials (presumably type IV collagen) as compared with normals. Sugar-specific lectin studies showed an increased deposition of peanut agglu-tinin (PNA) and Ricinus communis agglutinin I (RCA120) in the DM/PCL of the PBK corneas. Our data suggest that the DM/PCL of PBK corneas have an increased accumulation of terminal B-galactose and B-D-galactose (1-3)-D-N-acetylgalactosamine residues and altered ratios of low and high molecular weight collagenous proteins.
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