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M. Isabel Casanova, Laura J. Young, Sangwan Park, Soohyun Kim, Karolina Roszak, Brian C. Leonard, Andrew Blandino, Monica J. Motta, Glenn Yiu, Jennifer Y. Li, Ala Moshiri, Sara M. Thomasy; Normal Corneal Thickness and Endothelial Cell Density in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta). Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(9):23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.9.23.
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To define the normal range of central corneal thickness (CCT) and corneal endothelial cell density (ECD) in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and the effects of age, body weight, sex, and intraocular pressure (IOP) on these parameters.
Ophthalmic examinations were performed on 144 rhesus macaques without anterior segment pathology. The CCT was measured via ultrasound pachymetry (USP) and specular microscopy, and the ECD was semiautomatically and manually counted using specular microscopy. Rebound tonometry was used to measure IOP. Linear regression and mixed-effects linear regression models were used to evaluate the effects of age, body weight, sex, and IOP on CCT and ECD.
We included 98 females and 46 males with an age range of 0.2 to 29.4 years. The mean CCT by USP and specular microscopy were 483 ± 39 and 463 ± 33 µm, respectively, and were statistically different (P < 0.001). The ECDs were 2717 ± 423 and 2747 ± 438 cells/mm2 by semiautomated and manual analysis, respectively. Corneal endothelial degeneration was identified in one aged rhesus macaque.
The mean USP and specular microscopy CCT values differed significantly, whereas the semiautomatic and manual ECD did not. The CCT was associated with the IOP and sex, whereas the ECD was associated with body weight and age (P < 0.05). As in humans, corneal disease in rhesus macaques is uncommon.
Establishing reference values is fundamental to use rhesus macaques as a model for corneal disease or to identify toxicity in studies of ocular drugs or devices.
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