Lamellar keratoplasty in rabbits using human and rabbit amniotic membrane grafts: a comparative study




To compare the behavior of human and rabbit amniotic membrane (AM) grafts in surgically induced corneal thinning in rabbits.

Animals studied

Thirty two NZWR were randomly assigned to two groups of 16 animals each according to AM type (Human AM: group HAM and Rabbit AM: group RAM).


All animals were submitted to right keratectomy at a depth of 0.1 mm using a 5 mm trephine. Animals from HAM group had a button of 5 mm of human AM sutured into the corneal bed with a continuous pattern and 10.0 nylon monofilament suture, while animals from the RAM group had a button of 6 mm diameter of rabbit AM. Four animals in each group were euthanized 2, 7, 15, and 30 days postoperatively. Their corneas were harvested, fixed in 2% glutaraldehyde solution, and stained with haematoxylin–eosin, picrosirius red, and alcian blue for evaluation under light optical microscopy. Microscope images were digitalized and inflammatory cells and stromal blood vessels were counted.


There were no clinically significant differences between groups, and complete corneal epithelialization was observed in all animals in 30 days. Light optical microscopy revealed AM incorporation and resorption in both groups. However, the number of inflammatory cells and blood vessels was significantly higher in group HAM than in group RAM (P < 0.05, Mann–Whitney test). Clinical responses to human or rabbit AM were similar; however, human AM induced greater inflammatory reaction and stromal neovascularization in the rabbit cornea than in rabbit AM.


These differences may reflect a potential reaction to the xenograft. More studies are needed to further characterize these findings.