PURPOSE. The purpose of this study was to investigate the biomechanical stiffening effect induced by nanoplatform-based transepithelial riboflavin/UV-A cross-linking protocol using atomic force microscopy (AFM). METHODS. Twelve eye bank donor human sclerocorneal tissues were investigated using a commercial atomic force microscope operated in force spectroscopy mode. Four specimens underwent transepithelial corneal cross-linking using a hypotonic solution of 0.1% riboflavin with biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles of 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin plus enhancers (trometamol and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) and UV-A irradiation with a 10 mW/cm2 device for 9 minutes. After treatment, the corneal epithelium was removed using the Amoils brush, and the Young’s modulus of the most anterior stroma was quantified as a function of scan rate by AFM. The results were compared with those collected from four specimens that underwent conventional riboflavin/UV-A corneal cross-linking and four untreated specimens. RESULTS. The average Young’s modulus of the most anterior stroma after the nanoplatformbased transepithelial and conventional riboflavin/UV-A corneal cross-linking treatments was 2.5 times (P < 0.001) and 1.7 times (P < 0.001) greater than untreated controls respectively. The anterior stromal stiffness was significantly different between the two corneal crosslinking procedures (P < 0.001). The indentation depth decreased after corneal cross-linking treatments, ranging from an average of 2.4 ± 0.3 μm in untreated samples to an average of 1.2 ± 0.1 μm and 1.8 ± 0.1 μm after nanoplatform-based transepithelial and conventional crosslinking, respectively. CONCLUSIONS. The present nanotechnology-based transepithelial riboflavin/UV-A corneal crosslinking was effective to improve the biomechanical strength of the most anterior stroma of the human cornea.
- Atomic force microscopy
- Corneal biomechanical response
- Corneal cross-linking
- Young modulus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience