Role of dextran in maintaining adhesive and stiffness properties of prestripped DMEK lenticules



To investigate the adhesive and stiffness properties of prestripped Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) lenticules in different preservation conditions (with and without dextran).


The study included 3 conditions: (C1) tissues collected from tissue culture media (TCM), stripped and preserved in TCM; (C2) tissues collected from transport media (TM) (TCM supplemented with 6% dextran T-500), stripped and preserved in TM; and (C3) tissues collected from TCM, stripped and preserved in TM. Using a hinge, 9.5-mm stripped DMEK lenticules were restored back on the stroma and preserved for 4 days at room temperature (RT) in different conditions as above. Nine tissues, 3 from each condition, were used to check the adhesive (fibronectin, laminin, and vitronectin) and elastic properties (fibrillin, elastin, and collagen VI) using different antibodies. Six tissues, 2 from each condition, were used to check the stiffness properties after preservation using atomic force microscopy (AFM) nanoindentation method.


On the Descemet membrane, fibronectin was strongly expressed in C2 and C3, whereas laminin was intense in C2 postpreservation. Vitronectin was expressed in all the conditions. Elastic proteins were not expressed in either of the conditions apart from collagen VI, which was expressed on the posterior stroma. Atomic force microscopy showed higher stiffness in C3 and an insignificant but lower rigidity in C2 as compared to C1.


The tissues from C2 showed expression of adherent proteins and lower stiffness. Dextran may be suitable in preservation of DMEK grafts before and after preparation. Less stiff tissues may help reduce manipulations required in the recipient eye during DMEK surgery.

Eur J Ophthalmol 2017; 27(3): 270 - 277




Mohit Parekh, Alessandro Ruzza, Rosa Di Mundo, Stefano Ferrari, Giuseppina Recchia, Hossein Elbadawy, Giuseppe Carbone, Diego Ponzin

Article History


Financial support: Supported by the 2014 Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) Richard Lindstrom Research Grant and the Società Oftalmologica Italiana (SOI) grant to Dr. Diego Ponzin.
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has conflict of interest with this submission.
Meeting presentation: Derived from a paper presented at the Cornea Society/EBAA Fall Educational Symposium, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 13, 2015.

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  • International Center for Ocular Physiopathology, Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus, Venice - Italy
  • Tribolab, DMMM, Politecnico di Bari, Bari - Italy
  • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Taibah University, Almadinah Almunawwarah - Saudi Arabia

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