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Essay On Corneal Ectasia

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ECM proteins are known to play a significant role in the maintenance and preservation of tissue ultrastructure and biological function. This study investigates the potential application of leveraging these roles of ECM for structural reinforcement of the cornea to tackle the clinically relevant challenges of corneal ectasia. We evaluated the benefits of ECM via biomechanical, thermal, ultrastructural and gene expression characterization, by treating enzyme digested corneas with ECM conditioned media. ECM treatment demonstrated an increase in Young’s modulus on the KC corneas. Moreover, it restored thermal stability, and regulated gene expression of corneal stromal cells. We have therefore conclusively established that tissue-derived ECM…show more content…
In the native cornea, the proteoglycans containing chondroitin sulfate chains plays an important role on regulating collagen size and inter-fibrillar spacing [43]. In this ex vivo model, KC corneas have larger inter-fibrillar spacing and fibril diameter, which could be attributed to the degradation of chondroitin sulfate chains via enzymatic action, thus weakening inter- and intra-fibrillar collagen binding. The loss of inter-fibrillar collagen binding results in lower collagen fibrillar density. Meanwhile, the weakened intra-fibrillar collagen binding causes loosening of the tight packing in individual collagen fibrils, thereby changing the collagen fibril diameter distribution. ECM treatment restored the fibril density and altered the fibril diameter distribution. Treatment with different ECM groups (COR, CART, LN) resulted in different fibril sizes and density distributions. The differences observed after treatment could potentially be attributed to the varying biological components in the tissues from which the ECMs were extracted. While dissimilar in the ultrastructures produced, all ECM treatment groups restored mechanical properties of the cornea equally. Tensile strength is an important parameter for evaluating crosslinking efficiency, to ensure that the corneal stroma can resist deformation due to intraocular pressure. The enzyme activity decreased the tensile strength of KC corneas due to the degradation of proteoglycans,
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