OptiSol corneal storage medium and transmission of Treponema pallidum

TitleOptiSol corneal storage medium and transmission of Treponema pallidum
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsMacsai MS, Norris SJ
Pagination595 - 600
Date PublishedNov
ISSN0277-3740 (Print) 0277-3740 (Linking)
Accession Number8575181
Keywords*Cryopreservation, *Culture Media, Serum-Free, *Organ Preservation, Animals, Bacteriological Techniques, Chondroitin Sulfates, Complex Mixtures, Cornea / *microbiology, Dextrans, Disease Transmission, Infectious, Eye Infections, Bacterial / *transmission, Gentamicins, Male, Rabbits, Syphilis, Cutaneous / *transmission, Treponema pallidum / isolation & purification / *physiology

This study was conducted to provide experimental information on the probability of syphilis transmission resulting from corneal transplantation. To determine the effects of commonly employed corneal storage conditions on the survival and infectivity of Treponema pallidum, T. pallidum subsp. pallidum (Nichols) was inoculated into OptiSol storage medium or a T. pallidum survival medium at a concentration of 10(6)/ml and incubated in cornea viewing chambers for 24 h at 4 degrees C. When inoculated intradermally into rabbits (0.1 ml per site), none of the 10 sites developed lesions from suspensions incubated in OptiSol in the presence or absence of 100 microgram/ml gentamicin; T. pallidum incubated in the survival medium yielded lesions at one of 10 sites, whereas freshly extracted organisms produced lesions at all 10 sites. In another set of experiments, the infectivity of corneal tissue from rabbits inoculated intratesticularly with 2 x 10(7) T. pallidum 10 days earlier was determined. Corneas from five T. pallidum-infected rabbits were excised, extracted, and tested for infectivity either immediately after removal or after 24-h storage in OptiSol. Recipient rabbits developed lesions at five of 50 intradermal sites when the corneas were neither stored in OptiSol nor rinsed before extraction. Corneas from 10 donor rabbits that were rinsed with phosphate-buffered saline to remove blood and aqueous humor before extraction did not yield lesions at any of 200 sites in the recipient animals. The results of this study indicate that retention of T. pallidum infectivity is poor under typical corneal storage conditions and that rabbit corneal tissue contains few, if any, infectious T. pallidum organisms under the experimental conditions employed.

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