Evaluation of the AlgerBrush II rotating burr as a tool for inducing ocular surface failure in the New Zealand White rabbit

Li, Fiona J., Nili, Elham, Lau, Cora, Richardson, Neil A., Walshe, Jennifer, Barnett, Nigel L., Cronin, Brendan G., Hirst, Lawrence W., Schwab, Ivan R., Chirila, Traian V. and Harkin, Damien G. (2016) Evaluation of the AlgerBrush II rotating burr as a tool for inducing ocular surface failure in the New Zealand White rabbit. Experimental Eye Research, 147 1-11. doi:10.1016/j.exer.2016.04.005

Author Li, Fiona J.
Nili, Elham
Lau, Cora
Richardson, Neil A.
Walshe, Jennifer
Barnett, Nigel L.
Cronin, Brendan G.
Hirst, Lawrence W.
Schwab, Ivan R.
Chirila, Traian V.
Harkin, Damien G.
Title Evaluation of the AlgerBrush II rotating burr as a tool for inducing ocular surface failure in the New Zealand White rabbit
Journal name Experimental Eye Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0014-4835
Publication date 2016-06
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.exer.2016.04.005
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 147
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The New Zealand White rabbit has been widely used as a model of limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). Current techniques for experimental induction of LSCD utilize caustic chemicals, or organic solvents applied in conjunction with a surgical limbectomy. While generally successful in depleting epithelial progenitors, the depth and severity of injury is difficult to control using chemical-based methods. Moreover, the anterior chamber can be easily perforated while surgically excising the corneal limbus. In the interest of creating a safer and more defined LSCD model, we have therefore evaluated a mechanical debridement technique based upon use of the AlgerBrush II rotating burr. An initial comparison of debridement techniques was conducted in situ using 24 eyes in freshly acquired New Zealand White rabbit cadavers. Techniques for comparison (4 eyes each) included: (1) non-wounded control, (2) surgical limbectomy followed by treatment with 100% (v/v) n-heptanol to remove the corneal epithelium (1-2 min), (3) treatment of both limbus and cornea with n-heptanol alone, (4) treatment of both limbus and cornea with 20% (v/v) ethanol (2-3 min), (5) a 2.5-mm rounded burr applied to both the limbus and cornea, and (6) a 1-mm pointed burr applied to the limbus, followed by the 2.5-mm rounded burr applied to the cornea. All corneas were excised and processed for histology immediately following debridement. A panel of four assessors subsequently scored the degree of epithelial debridement within the cornea and limbus using masked slides. The 2.5-mm burr most consistently removed the corneal and limbal epithelia. Islands of limbal epithelial cells were occasionally retained following surgical limbectomy/heptanol treatment, or use of the 1-mm burr. Limbal epithelial cells were consistently retained following treatment with either ethanol or n-heptanol alone, with ethanol being the least effective treatment overall. The 2.5-mm burr method was subsequently evaluated in the right eye of 3 live rabbits by weekly clinical assessments (photography and slit lamp examination) for up to 5 weeks, followed by histological analyses (hematoxylin & eosin stain, periodic acid-Schiff stain and immunohistochemistry for keratin 3 and 13). All 3 eyes that had been completely debrided using the 2.5-mm burr displayed symptoms of ocular surface failure as defined by retention of a prominent epithelial defect (~40% of corneal surface at 5 weeks), corneal neovascularization (2-3 quadrants), reduced corneal transparency and conjunctivalization of the corneal surface (demonstrated by the presence of goblet cells and/or staining for keratin 13). In conclusion, our findings indicate that the AlgerBrush II rotating burr is an effective method for the establishment of ocular surface failure in New Zealand White rabbits. In particular, we recommend use of the 2.5-mm rotating burr for improved efficiency of epithelial debridement and safety compared to surgical limbectomy.
Keyword Cornea
Wound healing
Animal models
New Zealand white rabbit
Ocular surface failure
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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