In this experimental study we used for the first time Tiprotec® as a solution for corneal preservation and cold storage. We compared the resultant endothelial cell morphology and viability with this obtained after preservation of the ex-vivo corneas with both usual standard techniques: conventional cold storage (using Eusol-C) and organ culture. This prospective, in vitro, 3-armed parallel study was performed with the use of 90 porcine corneas (examined for their endothelial quality and transparency) randomly selected for preservation in three storage methods (each 30 corneas): organ culture, standard cold storage (Eusol-C) and experimental cold storage (Tiprotec®) Endothelium cell quantity and quality as well as corneal opacification were assessed. The degree of endothelial transparency was significantly reduced over time with all preservation media, without any significant difference among the three groups at any point of time. A reduction in endothelial cell density was also observed with all three preservation media after 30 days of storage without statistically significant differences between groups. The number of hexagonal and pentagonal endothelium cells was significantly reduced overtime in all media with significantly more hexagonal and pentagonal in the organ culture group compared to the cold storage groups. We could show that the cryopreservation medium Tiprotec®, used until now for the preservation of vascular grafts, was of similar quality compared to the medium Eusol-C for the hypothermic storage of corneal tissue for an extended period of time up to 30 days. In comparison to organic culture with culture medium KII, both Tiprotec® and Eusol-C were found less effective in preserving endothelial cell quality, as assessed by the morphometric analysis, and viability, as assessed by the degree of vacuolization at least up to the 30th day of storage. However, both, Tiprotec®– and Eusol-C-preserved corneas demonstrated a certain capacity to recover after their submission in organ culture.
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