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Induction of corneal collagen cross-linking in experimental corneal alkali burns in rabbits

Indução de ligações covalentes de colágeno em queimaduras corneanas experimentais por álcali em coelhos

Marcello Colombo-Barboza Guilherme Colombo-Barboza Sergio Felberg Paulo Elias Corrêa Dantas Elcio Hideo Sato About the authors


To evaluate the effect of riboflavin-ultraviolet-A-induced cross-linking (CXL) following corneal alkali burns in rabbits.


The right corneas and limbi of ten rabbits were burned using a 1N solution of NaOH and the animals were then divided into two groups: a control group submitted to clinical treatment alone and an experimental group that was treated 1 h after injury with CXL, followed by the same clinical treatment as administered to the controls. Clinical parameters were evaluated post-injury at 1, 7, 15, and 30 days by two independent observers. Following this evaluation, the corneas were excised and examined histologically.


There were no statistically significant differences in clinical parameters, such as hyperemia, corneal edema, ciliary injection, limbal ischemia, secretion, corneal neovascularization, symblepharon, or blepharospasm, at any of the time-points evaluated. However, the size of the epithelial defect was significantly smaller in the CXL group (p<0.05) (day 15: p=0.008 and day 30: p=0.008) and the extent of the corneal injury (opacity lesion) was also smaller (day 30: p=0.021). Histopathology showed the presence of collagen bridges linking the collagen fibers in only the CXL group.


These results suggest that the use of CXL may improve the prognosis of acute corneal alkali burns.

Cross-linking reagents; Riboflavin; Ultraviolet therapy/methods; Cornea/ drug effects; Rabbits; Animal

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