Purpose: To compare the biosafety of chitosan (CHM) and collagen–
vitrigel biomembranes (CVM) when implanted to the anterior chamber of an animal
model to set an optimal scaffold for further corneal engineering research.
Methods: Four White New Zealand rabbits, 3 months old, were implanted with
CHM in one eye, and other four rabbits were implanted with CVM membranes following
cold burn damage on the corneal surface. The contralateral eye was used as
the control. After 1 week, rabbits were sacrificed, and the obtained corneas were
clinically evaluated and processed for histological analysis.
Results: Eyes implanted with CHM developed severe inflammation with 360°
neovascularization, ciliary injection, optical opacity, and purulent exudate in the anterior
chamber. Microscopically, CHM-implanted eyes showed severe exudative, inflammatory, and necrotic
processes that were mainly composed of polymorphonuclear (PMN) leukocytes, cellular debris,
and macrophages. Eyes implanted with CVM showed little or no signs of clinical inflammation. Histological
analysis of the CVM and control eyes showed no signs of inflammation, except in places
where corneal suture ports and closure with a suture were performed.
Conclusions: CHM are not biocompatible for ocular purposes. CVM are safe to be used for further in
vivo research as cell scaffold in corneal engineering.