In this study a technique for determining donor cell fate following corneal grafting was evaluated. Patients treated for limbal deficiency with allogeneic cultured corneal epithelial cells were studied to determine the fate of the grafted cells. The technique was evaluated initially through the use of donor eyes and then applied to the clinical analysis of 7 patients who had received a cultured corneal epithelial allograft. Cells removed from the cornea and any retrieved tissue were analyzed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotyping to determine the origin of the cells populating the patients’ healed cornea. A mixture of genotypes was detected in a cornea retrieved from a patient following a fully penetrating keratoplasty who had received a mixture of allogeneic tissue. Donor cells were no longer detected on the corneal surface of all 7 cases beyond 28 weeks postgraft. At these later time points, only patient genotype could be detected. These results demonstrate that PCR genotyping can be used to determine the origin of cells populating the surface of the cornea following the grafting of cultured allogeneic cells and demonstrates that transplanted cultured limbal epithelial cells do not persist on the surface of the host cornea for more than 28 weeks.
Sharpe, J. R., Daya, S., Dimitriadi, M., Martin, R., & James, S. E. (2007). Survival of cultured allogeneic limbal epithelial cells following corneal repair. Tissue Engineering, 13(1), 123-132. https://doi.org/10.1089/ten.2006.0108