Author(s): Rao SK, Rajagopal R, Sitalakshmi G, Padmanabhan P
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To report the results of limbal allograft transplantation, from human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched and -unmatched related live donors, in patients with ocular surface disease due to chemical burns and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. DESIGN: Retrospective, noncomparative case series. PARTICIPANTS: Eight patients (nine eyes) with severe chemical burns (n = 7 eyes) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (n = 2 eyes). INTERVENTION: Recipient eyes were treated with excision of cicatricial tissues. Transplantation of superior and inferior limbal grafts was performed from related live HLA-matched (n = 7) and -unmatched donors (n = 2). Systemic cyclosporine was not used in any of the recipients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Reconstruction of corneal surface epithelium, restoration of avascularity, increase in ocular comfort, and improvement in visual acuity. RESULTS: With a mean observation period of 17.2 months, phenotypically corneal epithelium, decreased vascularization of the corneal surface, and improved ocular comfort were seen in seven (77.8\%) eyes. In all seven eyes, gradual recurrence of peripheral corneal vascularization occurred during the follow-up period. Features of graft rejection developed in three (42.9\%) of these seven eyes. In two eyes, limbal transplantation from HLA-unmatched donors failed to reconstitute the corneal surface. Limbal allograft transplantation resulted in visual acuity of 20/400 or greater in only two (22.2\%) eyes at last follow-up. Corneal grafts performed 7 and 16 months after successful limbal transplantation in two eyes developed recurrent epithelial breakdown and superficial corneal scarring. None of the donor eyes in this study had any complication. CONCLUSION: Transplantation of limbal tissue from related live donors successfully reconstructs the corneal surface in HLA-matched recipients. Recurrence of vascularization on long-term follow-up probably results from inadequate stem cell transfer, immune-mediated stem cell damage, or both. Limbal allografting is best performed by transplanting the entire limbus from a cadaveric donor eye with systemic immunosuppression of the recipient, even if the donor is HLA-compatible.
This article was published in Ophthalmology
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy