Relationship of posterior peripheral corneal layers and the trabecular meshwork: an immunohistological and anatomical study

pubmed: wnt1 2024-05-26

Br J Ophthalmol. 2024 Feb 28:bjo-2023-324844. doi: 10.1136/bjo-2023-324844. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND/AIM: With the popularity of endothelial keratoplasty (EK) procedures, Descemet membrane (DM) EK and pre-Descemet EK, considerable work has been done on understanding the posterior corneal anatomy. Most of the information available relates to the central cornea. We evaluated the peripheral cornea to explore the immunohistological and anatomical relationship between the pre-Descemet layer (PDL), DM and trabecular meshwork (TM).

METHODS: Six donor human sclerocorneal discs were studied. PDL, DM and TM were examined by light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and immunohistology. The DM was peeled from the centre to the limit of its peripheral attachment, to reach the transition zone (TZ) between TM and peripheral cornea. Ten-micron sections were stained with antibodies against collagens 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, elastin, myocilin, wnt-1, aquaporin, tenascin C, laminin and integrin alpha 3.

RESULTS: Collagens 2, 3, 4, laminin and myocilin were predominantly seen in the TZ between TM and peripheral cornea. Wnt-1, integrin alpha 3 and tenascin C were highly concentrated in TM. Collagen 1 was present predominantly in the corneal stroma. On TEM; DM was thinner with a denser banded structure spread throughout its thickness in the periphery compared with the central cornea where it presents as the distinct anterior banded layer.

CONCLUSION: The TZ between DM, PDL and TM shows a unique histological structure at the periphery. The collagen and elastin fibres of the TM are continuous with the PDL. The structures are firmly attached to each other. These findings provide structural information that is relevant to the preparation of DMEK donor tissue.

PMID:38418206 | DOI:10.1136/bjo-2023-324844