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  • 1 Szent István University Clinic for Large Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Science Dóra major H-2225 Üllő Hungary
  • | 2 Szent István University Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science Budapest Hungary
  • | 3 University of Bern Equine Clinic, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty Bern Switzerland
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The aim of this study was to describe long-term follow-up and difference in immune reactions in the tear film following penetrating keratoplasty (PK) in horses when differently preserved corneas were utilised. This report describes for the first time the use of corneal grafts preserved in tissue culture media in equine PK. Eight experimental horses with normal eyes were included and freshly harvested, frozen or preserved corneal grafts were used for the PK. The graft-taking technique and storage, PK surgery, postoperative treatments and complications are described. The mean postoperative follow-up time was 286 days. Tear film samples taken before and periodically after surgery were measured for IgM, IgG and IgA contents by direct ELISA. All grafts were incorporated into the donor horse but were rejected to some degree. The differently harvested corneal grafts healed in the same manner and looked similar. Preoperatively, the clear corneas meant low risk for graft failure, and the fresh or stored tissues provided intact endothelium, although there were no clear graft sites postoperatively. The presence of IgA, IgG and IgM was demonstrated in the tear film from the early postoperative period. IgG levels were lower than IgA or IgM and had a constant baseline in every case, as IgA and IgM had great variability with time and an individual pattern in each eye.

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