Cell & Tissue Banking: November 2019, pp 1-9
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Abstract: This study aimed to evaluate the possibility to extend the storage of unused organ-cultured donor corneas. After 28 days of corneal culture in TISSUE-C (AL.CHI.MI.A. S.R.L., Italy) and 5-day storage in transport/deswelling medium CARRY-C (AL.CHI.MI.A. S.R.L., Italy), 25 corneas that were deemed suitable for transplantation were transferred in fresh TISSUE-C at 31 °C for additional 7 days and then in fresh CARRY-C at room temperature for 24 h. Tissues were assessed for endothelial cell density (ECD), endothelial mortality and morphology after the standard and the extended corneal storage. In addition, the effect of donor age < 85 years and ≥ 85 years on corneal characteristics was assessed. After the extended storage, 6 out of 25 tested corneas (24%) showed ECD values below the acceptance limit (< 2000 cells/mm2). 19 corneas (76%) were still suitable for transplantation and showed a 5.9% loss in ECD, which was not statistically significant (P = 0.0949) compared to standard storage period. The two donor age groups did not show statistically significant differences in any tested parameter, although a trend for lower ECD and higher mortality in Descemet’s folds after standard storage was observed in the ≥ 85 age donor group. Thus, the attempt of the current study to provide new sight-restorative options for unused tissues and increasing the availability of corneas in case of shortage gave encouraging results. Although a higher vulnerability of corneas from very old donors could not be statistically demonstrated in the present study, higher sample size could be required for prolonging the shelf life of these tissues.