Purpose: To understand the responses of the corneal endothelium to different types of surgical insults, we chronologically investigated morphologic changes in rabbit endothelial cells after injury. Methods: We performed a mechanical incision, epithelial ablation, or excimer laser irradiation on rabbit corneas and observed the changes in the endothelial cells for up to 2 weeks after surgery under a light microscope and an electron microscope. Results: Although we observed enlargements of intercellular spaces between neighboring endothelial cells, intercellular adhesion complexes were maintained and the cells joined tightly near their apexes immediately after each procedure. We observed no signs of endothelial cell degeneration after the procedures, but we did observe many Golgi apparati, rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticula, and secreted granules, indicating that the cells had been activated. After each procedure, varying periods of time were required before the intercellular junctions and spaces returned to normal. Conclusion: These results suggest that the different kinds of surgical injuries affected the corneal endothelium in different ways, but that the early changes were reversible. (C) 2000 Japanese Ophthalmological Society.
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