Surface modification of corneal prosthesis with nano-hydroxyapatite to enhance in vivo biointegration


Riau AK, Lwin NC, Gelfand L, Hu H, Liedberg B, Chodosh J, Venkatraman SS, Mehta JS. Surface modification of corneal prosthesis with nano-hydroxyapatite to enhance in vivo biointegration. Acta Biomater 2020;107:299-312.

Date Published:

2020 04 15


The majority of clinical corneal prostheses (KPros) adopt a core-skirt configuration. This configuration is favored owing to the optic core (generally a cylindrical, acrylic-based material, such as PMMA), that not only provides a clear window for the patients' vision, but also confers resistance to biodegradability. The surrounding skirt (typically a biological material, such as corneal tissue) allows for host tissue integration. However, due to poor biointegration between the dissimilar core and skirt materials, it results in a weak adhesion at the interface, giving rise to clinical complications, such as bacterial infections in the tissue-PMMA interface and device extrusion. Here, we physically immobilized nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) on a PMMA cylinder via a dip-coating technique, to create a bioactive surface that improved biointegration in vivo. We established that the nHAp coating was safe and stable in the rabbit cornea over five weeks. More importantly, we found that apoptotic, wound healing and inflammatory responses to nHAp-coated PMMA were substantially milder than to non-coated PMMA. More mature collagen, similar to the non-operated cornea, was maintained in the corneal stroma adjacent to the nHAp-coated implant edge. However, around the non-coated cylinder, an abundant new and loose connective tissue formed, similar to bone tissue response to bioinert scaffolds. As a result of superior biointegration, tissue adhesion with nHAp-coated PMMA cylinders was also significantly enhanced compared to non-coated cylinders. This study set a precedent for the future application of the nHAp coating on clinical KPros. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Currently, all clinical corneal prostheses utilize as-manufactured, non-surface modified PMMA optic cylinder. The bioinert cylinder, however, has poor biointegration and adhesion with the surrounding biological tissue, which can give rise to postoperative complications, such as microbial invasion in the tissue-PMMA loose interface and PMMA optic cylinder extrusion. In the current study, we showed that surface modification of the PMMA cylinder with bioactive nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) significantly enhanced its biointegration with corneal stromal tissue in vivo. The superior biointegration of the nHAp-coated PMMA was signified by a more attenuated corneal wound healing, inflammatory and fibrotic response, and better tissue apposition, as well as a significantly improved corneal stromal tissue adhesion when compared to the non-coated PMMA.

See also: Cornea, April 2020, All, 2020
Last updated on 04/30/2020