The porcine cornea was used as a model for the study of the effects of corneal storage in 2.5% chondroitin sulphate at 3, 5, 8, and 10 days. The corneal endothelium was studied by scanning electron microscopy and image analysis was used to measure cell area, density, and the percentage of cell disruption and loss. Corneal endothelial cells from freshly slaughtered 5- to 6-month-old pigs had a mean posterior surface area of 134 +/- 30 /[micro]m2 and a density of 6,300 +/- 640 cells/mm2. In storage conditions, there was a decrease in cell area to 102 +/- 18 [micro]m2 at 5 days and 88 +/- 23 [micro]m2 at 10 days of storage, with a cell density of 7,110 cells/mm2 at 5 days and 6,500 cells/mm2 at 10 days. There was a disruption rate of 12% at 5 days and 26% at 10 days of storage. The effect on the endothelium after suspension in storage medium was compared with laying the corneas endothelium uppermost. An increased disruption rate was found in the suspended corneas. The effect of the time interval between enucleation and preparation on percentage cellular disruption was linear.
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