A new approach to extend the storage of donor corneas after 28 days of corneal culture in an Italian eye bank

  • Raffaela Mistò
  • Jana D’Amato TóthováEmail author
  • Saifullah Khan
  • Anna Limongelli
  • Francesca Pateri
Full Length Paper


This study aimed to evaluate the possibility to extend the storage of unused organ-cultured donor corneas. After 28 days of corneal culture in TISSUE-C (AL.CHI.MI.A. S.R.L., Italy) and 5-day storage in transport/deswelling medium CARRY-C (AL.CHI.MI.A. S.R.L., Italy), 25 corneas that were deemed suitable for transplantation were transferred in fresh TISSUE-C at 31 °C for additional 7 days and then in fresh CARRY-C at room temperature for 24 h. Tissues were assessed for endothelial cell density (ECD), endothelial mortality and morphology after the standard and the extended corneal storage. In addition, the effect of donor age < 85 years and ≥ 85 years on corneal characteristics was assessed. After the extended storage, 6 out of 25 tested corneas (24%) showed ECD values below the acceptance limit (< 2000 cells/mm2). 19 corneas (76%) were still suitable for transplantation and showed a 5.9% loss in ECD, which was not statistically significant (P = 0.0949) compared to standard storage period. The two donor age groups did not show statistically significant differences in any tested parameter, although a trend for lower ECD and higher mortality in Descemet’s folds after standard storage was observed in the ≥ 85 age donor group. Thus, the attempt of the current study to provide new sight-restorative options for unused tissues and increasing the availability of corneas in case of shortage gave encouraging results. Although a higher vulnerability of corneas from very old donors could not be statistically demonstrated in the present study, higher sample size could be required for prolonging the shelf life of these tissues.


Extended corneal storage time Corneal transplantation Corneal preservation Eye bank Organ culture 



We would like to thank Cristina Gianotti for the writing assistance and Prof. Eugenio Ragazzi for support in statistical analysis.


No external funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author Raffaela Mistò declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author J. D’Amato Tóthová declares that she is employed by the company  Alchilife S.R.L., which was involved in the development of one medical device discussed in this article. Author Saifullah Khan declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Anna Limongelli declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Francesca Pateri declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in the studies involving human tissue were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eye Bank of MonzaOspedale San GerardoMonzaItaly
  2. 2.Alchilife S.R.L.Ponte San NicolòItaly
  3. 3.Peshawar Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS)PeshawarPakistan

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