• Sheets of epithelium freed of underlying connective tissue and basal lamina with dispase II were obtained from explants of rabbit oral mucosa. Epithelial sheets were then sutured onto abraded (basement membrane intact) or keratectomized corneal-limbal zones or abraded central corneas of anesthetized rabbits. To develop the procedure, allografts to abraded (N=13) and keratectomized wounds (N=3) on the corneal-limbal zone were done. All allografts were retained on the wound bed until the experiment was terminated or rejection occurred. Prior to rejection, eyes were uninflamed and quiet. Allografts on central avascular corneal wounds (N=8) were not maintained. Autografts (N=4) sutured to corneal-limbal abrasion wounds were maintained until animals were killed at the end of the experiment, 22, 26, 60, and 120 days after transplant. Eyes were uninflamed and quiet. A fine vascular bed developed under both allografts and autografts in the peripheral cornea. Grafts maintained some histologic characteristics of oral mucosal epithelium, even after four months. These data indicate that it is feasible to transplant oral mucosal epithelium to corneal-limbal ocular surface wounds and that the grafts will be maintained. Such transplants are, however, not maintained over central, avascular corneal regions.
Gipson IK, Geggel HS, Spurr-Michaud SJ. Transplant of Oral Mucosal Epithelium to Rabbit Ocular Surface Wounds In Vivo. Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(10):1529–1533. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050220123039
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