### Abstract

The anteroposterior keratocyte density distribution in the rabbit cornea was measured. Unsectioned tissue blocks from the central cornea of five rabbits were stained with propidium iodide and imaged using a Leica laser scanning confocal microscope. A z-series of images was acquired in each sample, from anterior to posterior stroma in either 3- or 8-μm steps. Software was developed to allow interactive marking of the keratocyte nuclei within each section of the z-series and for calculating cell density. For convenience, cell density was expressed as the number of cells per corneal volume element (CVE), where CVE is a newly defined volume unit with x, y, and z dimensions of 250, 250, and 10 μm, respectively. The calculated keratocyte density was 20.2 ± 1.0 cells/CVE (n = 5), which is equivalent to 32,360 ± 1,660 cells/mm^{3}. The greatest density was underneath the epithelium (26.3 ± 2.5 cells/ CVE), the density then decreased linearly with depth to 15.2 ± 1.4 cells/CVE; there was a slight increase in density pre-Descemets membrane to 18.5 ± 3.5 cells/CVE. A 30% decrease in cell density over the entire anteroposterior stromal thickness was observed. To facilitate statistical analysis, the cell density was averaged over 5% thickness intervals from anterior to posterior cornea. A significant difference in mean cell density of these intervals was found (ANOVA, n = 20, p < 0.01). To further assess the density distribution, linear regression analysis was performed. A significant correlation was found between keratocyte density and stromal depth (R = - 0.94, n = 20, p < 0.05). We conclude that in the rabbit, keratocyte cell density is maximal underlying the epithelium and progressively decreases from anterior to posterior cornea.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 3-9 |

Number of pages | 7 |

Journal | Cornea |

Volume | 14 |

Issue number | 1 |

Publication status | Published - 1995 |

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### Keywords

- Confocal microscopy
- Corneal keratocyte
- Three-dimensional imaging

### ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Ophthalmology

### Cite this

*Cornea*,

*14*(1), 3-9.