To show corneal regeneration in 3 cats that underwent lamellar keratectomy (90%) depth during supradescemetic keratoprosthetic implantation.
Three 2-year-old cats that underwent spontaneous keratoprosthesis extrusion between 15 and 150 days after implanting a supradescemetic prosthesis into their right eyes were studied. Corneal structures and stroma thickness were evaluated by slit-lamp photographs, pachymetry, and confocal microscopy. Regenerated corneal epithelial cells, stroma matrix, and keratocyte morphology were studied with histology and transmission electron microscopy. Epithelial and stromal cell immunocharacterization was performed.
Corneas progressively regained normal thickness and improved clarity within 40 to 60 days. Slit-lamp photographs and pachymetry showed gains in stromal thickness until 600 μm or more. In vivo confocal microscopy showed the restoration of normal epithelium and stroma in all cats. Corneal nerves were seen in the regenerated stroma of 2 cats. Immunostaining showed absent α-smooth muscle actin (SMA) expression and a keratin K3-expressing epithelium. Electron microscopy showed regeneration of normal epithelium with a well-formed basement membrane, organized corneal lamellae, and the presence of normal keratocytes.
Felines are capable of regenerating corneal structures including epithelium and reinnervated stroma matrix after deep lamellar keratectomy. The use of feline models in corneal keratoprosthesis is therefore questionable.