Melvin Ling1, Jaime Juarez1, Pierre Georges1, Christopher Hodge1, Jane Treloggen1, Gerard Sutton1,2, Con Petsoglou1,2, Meidong Zhu1,2
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of donor age upon corneal endothelial cell density and cell viability for corneas stored in organ culture medium.
Method: Donor corneas stored in organ culture medium at the New South Wales Tissue Banks between 1 April 2014, and 31 December 2018 were reviewed retrospectively. Corneas were divided into groups of low endothelial cell density (<2200 cells/mm2) and adequate endothelial cell density (≥2200 cells/mm2), as well as low cell viability (≤70%) and adequate cell viability (>70%). Two‐sample t‐test was used to compare age between these groups. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to investigate linear relationships across age, endothelial cell density, cell viability and endothelial cell loss.
Results: A total of 3203 corneas were included in this analysis. Of these, 4.2% (136/3203) were discarded due to either low endothelial cell density, low cell viability, or both. The mean endothelial density was 2997.9 ± 432.18 cells/mm2 and the mean viability was 94.56 ± 6.56%. A significant difference (P < 0.001) was identified between the donor age for corneas with low endothelial cell density (mean 69.28 ± 11.86 years) compared to those with satisfactory endothelial cell density (mean 62.39 ± 14.18 years). There was a significant positive correlation between final endothelial cell density and viability (r = 0.617, P < 0.001). Conclusion: Corneas with low endothelial cell density were obtained from significantly older donors compared to corneas with satisfactory endothelial cell density. Further studies are warranted to investigate the other impact factors on low cell density and viability.