Corneal xenotransplantation is an effective solution for the shortage of human corneas. We investigated the feasibility and efficacy of different postoperative protocols on xeno-Descemet’s stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) grafts. Thirty rhesus monkeys were randomly divided into three groups: control group (C), only Descemet’s membrane (DM) stripping; DSAEK 1 (D1) and DSAEK 2 (D2) groups, DM stripping followed by endothelial keratoplasty. Betamethasone 3.5 mg was subconjunctival injected in groups control and D1 postoperatively, while animals in group D2 were treated with topical 0.1% tacrolimus and topical steroids. All groups were evaluated by slit-lamp microscopy, anterior segment OCT and LSCM for at least nine months. A total of 24 monkeys (24 eyes) met the inclusion criteria. Nine months after DSAEK surgery, all xenografts showed good attachment, and most corneas were transparent. Graft rejection occurred in 25% of the cases in group D1 and 28.57% of those in group D2 (P > 0.05). The corneal endothelium density in the DSAEK groups was 2715.83±516.20/mm² (D1) and 2220.00 ± 565.13/mm² (D2) (P > 0.05). Xenogeneic corneal endothelial grafts can survive and function in rhesus monkey eyes for a long time with subconjunctival steroid or topical tacrolimus and steroid treatment.
The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.