Adult white New Zealand rabbit as suitable model for corneal endothelial engineering
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© 2015 Valdez García et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Corneal endothelium engineering is focused in producing transplantable cell sheets to overcome the shortage of corneal graft tissue donors for the treatment of corneal blindness. For this purpose, the use of a proper animal model plays a key role. Corneal parameters of White New Zealand rabbits such as endothelial cell density, central corneal thickness, and corneal diameter decrease with age, similarly as in humans. However, as opposed to humans, they retain the ability to restore their corneal endothelium after injury. Therefore, they are considered as an inappropriate corneal endothelial wound healing model. Findings: Here we analyze the corneal endothelium mitotic ability of White New Zealand rabbits aged 3, 6, 12 and 18 months, 36 and 72 hours after thermal injury. The highest mitotic activity was observed in the 3-month rabbits 36 h after wounding. Rabbits of 12 months registered decreased mitotic activity and those of 18 months did not show mitotic activity 72 h after injury. Conclusions: These results propose that rabbits of 18 months represent a suitable model for human corneal endothelium engineering research.