© 2016 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists Objective: To evaluate microbiological, histologic, and ultrastructural characteristics of short-term cryopreserved (STC) feline corneoscleral tissue (<1 year) and to compare it with long-term cryopreserved (LTC) tissue (>7 years). Animals studied: Twenty healthy feline globes were obtained from 2003 to 2013. Procedure: After a decontamination protocol, globes were enucleated and stored at −20 °C in broad-spectrum antibiotics. Corneoscleral tissue was evaluated at different storage periods: <1 year (10 eyes) and >7 years (8 eyes). Two eyes were used as controls. Microbiologic study included direct (blood, McConkey, and Sabouraud agars) and enrichment (brain–heart infusion broth) cultures. Cryopreservation artifacts were evaluated by hematoxylin–eosin. Corneoscleral collagen organization and number of normal and dead keratocytes were established by transmission electron microscopy. Results: Although microbiologic cultures were positive only in STC [direct (20.8%); enrichment (37.5%)], significant differences between periods were only found in enrichment cultures (P = 0.006). Cryopreservation artifacts were most commonly observed in LTC tissues (P < 0.001). Normal keratocytes were predominant in STC corneas (STC 58.3%, LTC 12.5%) and apoptotic ones in LTC (STC 41.7%, LTC 75%), whereas necrotic keratocytes were only seen in LTC (LTC 12.5%) (P = 0.046). No structural differences were detected in collagen organization between STC and LTC (Pcornea = 0.147; Psclera = 0.362). Conclusions: Cryopreservation of feline corneoscleral tissue seems to reduce bacterial contamination over time. Apoptosis is the main cause of death of cryopreserved feline keratocytes. Based on the lack of significant structural differences between STC and LTC samples, these cryopreserved tissues could potentially be used for tectonic support for at least 10 years without structural or microbiological impediment.
- storage method