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      Survival of Corneal Allografts following Topical Treatment with the Immunomodulator Mycophenolate Mofetil


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          Aims: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topically applied mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) for the prophylaxis of corneal graft rejection in an experimental keratoplasty model. Methods: A total of 12 female Lewis rats received 3.5-mm MHC I/II-incompatible corneal grafts from DA donors. Recipients were randomly assigned to receive either topical MMF + β-cyclodextrin therapy (1%), β-cyclodextrin therapy alone or to remain untreated. Therapy was applied every 2 h (over 24 h) during the first 3 postoperative days, then twice hourly during daytime. Grafts were graded every day based on a rejection score including the parameters transplant clarity and edema. Results: The mean survival time (MST) of the grafts in the MMF-treated group was 12 days, the MST in the vehicle-treated group was 14.3 days and the MST in the untreated group was 13.3 days. So, the survival curves of the 3 treatment groups did not differ significantly. Conclusion: Topical MMF is ineffective for prophylaxis of corneal graft rejection.

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          Mycophenolate mofetil versus cyclosporin A in high risk keratoplasty patients: a prospectively randomised clinical trial.

          The requirement for an effective, minimally toxic immunosuppressive agent remains a major obstacle to performing high risk corneal transplantation. Although therapy with cyclosporin A (CSA) allows superior graft survival, its use is limited because of a wide range of side effects. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has been shown to be a safe and effective immunosuppressive agent following renal transplantation. This prospective, randomised clinical trial was carried out to investigate the efficacy and safety of MMF in preventing corneal allograft rejection. Recipients of corneal transplants who were at high risk for graft failure were randomly assigned to either CSA or MMF immunosuppressive therapy. CSA was given in doses to achieve whole blood trough levels of 120-150 ng/ml. MMF was given in a daily dose of 2 g. Both therapy groups additionally received oral corticosteroids (fluocortolone 1 mg/kg) which were tapered and discontinued within the first 3 postoperative weeks. Patients were monitored closely for evidence of corneal graft rejection and adverse side effects. Drug efficacy was measured, primarily, by the number of patients who experienced at least one episode of clinical graft rejection. Safety analysis focused on reported adverse side effects and laboratory measurements. 41 patients were enrolled in the study. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. 20 patients received CSA and 21 patients received MMF. Two patients in each group showed evidence of acute graft rejection which could be treated effectively by corticosteroids. All corneal grafts remained clear throughout the follow up. In this study it was shown that MMF is just as effective as CSA in preventing acute rejection following high risk corneal transplantation. Mycophenolate mofetil represents a promising alternative therapeutic option in patients who are at high risk for corneal graft failure.
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            Immunomodulatory Therapy in Ophthalmology – Is There a Place for Topical Application?

            Topical corticosteroids, although effective in the treatment of ocular immune-mediated diseases, are well known for their ocular side-effects. Not surprisingly, a variety of alternative immunomodulatory agents have been tested for topical use including cyclosporin A (CsA), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), tacrolimus (FK506), rapamycin (sirolimus) and leflunomide. Local application bears the possibility to avoid the severe side-effects of systemic therapy. The effect of topical therapy is naturally restricted to local immune response mechanisms, such as antigen presentation by Langerhans and dendritic cells. Moreover, many immunomodulatory agents (e.g. CsA) are lipophilic and thus have low water solubility and penetrate insufficiently intra-ocularly, often being stored in the lipophilic corneal epithelial barrier. Therefore, the therapeutical success is limited for intra-ocular immune-mediated diseases like anterior uveitis. However, a multitude of strategies have been introduced to circumvent these problems including complexing substances such as cyclodextrins (CDs) and liposomes. In the prevention and treatment of transplant rejection after keratoplasty, many attempts to introduce topical immunomodulatory therapy have failed; on the other hand, further therapeutic options not primarily expected are being evaluated today such as treatment of severe keratoconjunctivitis sicca. In our own studies, we investigated the pharmacokinetics of topical treatment with different agents including MMF and evaluated the efficacy of topical treatment in animal models for uveitis and keratoplasty. Taken together, topical immunomodulatory therapy will not replace systemic therapy but further treatment options can be expected.
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              Systemic mycophenolate mofetil avoids immune reactions in penetrating high-risk keratoplasty: preliminary results of an ongoing prospectively randomized multicentre study.

              Recently, in a monocentre study mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) was demonstrated to be efficacious and safe in penetrating high-risk keratoplasty. Here, preliminary results of a randomized multicentre trial are presented. To date, 86 of 140 scheduled patients undergoing high-risk penetrating keratoplasty have already been randomized into the two study groups: 48 into the MMF group and 38 into the control group. All 86 patients received fluocortolon 1 mg/kg body weight/day, tapered within 3 weeks, and topical prednisolone acetate 1% tapered within 5 months. MMF was administered at a daily oral dose of 2 x 1000 mg for the first 6 postoperative months. Thereafter, MMF was tapered within 2 weeks. The proportion of grafts with immune reactions and side-effects were the main outcome measures. Within an average follow up of 9.2 +/- 6.6 months two patients developed reversible endothelial immune reactions in the MMF group after cessation of MMF application. In the control group, five reversible and three irreversible immune reactions were observed within an average follow up of 10.1 +/- 7.6 months. According to Kaplan and Meier analysis, the ratio of grafts without immune reactions was estimated 89% 1 year postoperatively in the MMF group, in contrast to only 67% in the control group (P = 0.03; log-rank test). Fifteen patients experienced side-effects, especially gastroenterotoxicity, tachycardia, arthralgia or systemic infections. All attributable side-effects were reversible. Systemic MMF may be an effective and safe immune modulating drug in the prophylaxis of immune reactions after penetrating high-risk keratoplasty.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                December 2009
                12 August 2009
                : 224
                : 1
                : 38-41
                aClinic of Ophthalmology, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Charité – University School of Medicine Berlin, and bDepartment of Pharmacy, Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                233237 Ophthalmologica 2010;224:38–41
                © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                : 17 January 2008
                : 31 January 2008
                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 13, Pages: 4
                Original Paper

                Vision sciences,Ophthalmology & Optometry,Pathology
                Corneal transplantation,Experimental surgery,Corneal surgery,Drug delivery


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