Date Published:2016 Apr 1
PURPOSE: To compare the effects of post-penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and post-keratoprosthesis (KPro) surgery-related inflammation on the posterior segment of the eye and to assess inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) on these effects. METHODS: BALB/C (syngeneic) or C57BL/6 (allogeneic) corneas were transplanted onto BALB/C host beds as part of PK or miniature KPro (m-KPro) implantation. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured via an intracameral pressure sensor; tissues were harvested and analyzed 8 weeks after surgery. Expression of TNFα and IL-1β in the retina was analyzed using real-time quantitative (q)PCR. Optic nerve degeneration (axon count, circularity, and area) was assessed quantitatively using ImageJ software. After m-KPro implantation, mice were treated with saline, anti-TNFα, or anti-IL-1β antibody, and axonal loss was assessed after 10 weeks. RESULTS: Mean IOP was within normal limits in the operated and fellow eyes in all groups. The mRNA expression of TNFα and IL-1β was highest in m-KPro groups with either syngeneic or an allogeneic carrier. We observed optic nerve degeneration in both allogeneic PK and m-KPro implanted eyes with an allogeneic carrier. However, TNFα blockade significantly reduced axonal loss by 35%. CONCLUSIONS: Allogeneic PK and m-KPro implants with an allogeneic carrier lead to chronic inflammation in the posterior segment of the eye, resulting in optic nerve degeneration. In addition, blockade of TNFα prevents axonal degeneration in this preclinical model of allogeneic m-KPro (alloKPro) implantation.