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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 717835, 9 pages
Clinical Study

Protective Effects of Trehalose on the Corneal Epithelial Cells

1Department of Experimental Medical-Surgical Sciences, Regional Referral Center for the Ocular Surface Diseases, University of Messina, Via C. Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy
2Department of Social and Environmental Health, University of Messina, Via C. Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy
3Department of Biomedical Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, Section of Histology and Embryology, University of Messina, Via C. Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy

Received 15 February 2014; Revised 15 May 2014; Accepted 27 May 2014; Published 18 June 2014

Academic Editor: Winston W.-Y. Kao

Copyright © 2014 Pasquale Aragona et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of the trehalose on the corneal epithelium undergoing alcohol delamination. Methods. Twelve patients undergoing laser subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) were consecutively included in the study. The right eyes were pretreated with 3% trehalose eye drops, whilst left eyes were used as control. Epithelial specimens were processed for cells vitality assessment, apoptosis, and light and transmission electron microscopy; a morphometric analysis was performed in both groups. Results. In both trehalose-untreated eyes (TUE) and trehalose-treated eyes (TTE), the percentage of vital cells was similar and no apoptotic cells were observed. In TUE, the corneal epithelium showed superficial cells with reduced microfolds, wing cells with vesicles and dilated intercellular spaces, and dark basal cells with vesicles and wide clefts. In TTE, superficial and wing cells were better preserved, and basal cells were generally clear with intracytoplasmatic vesicles. The morphometric analysis showed statistically significant differences between the two groups: the TTE epithelial height was higher, the basal cells showed larger area and clearer cytoplasm. The distribution of desmosomes and hemidesmosomes was significantly different between the groups. Conclusions. Trehalose administration better preserved morphological and morphometric features of alcohol-treated corneal epithelium, when compared to controls.