Background: Hypothermic perfusion can be used as adjunctive therapy to reduce corneal endothelial cell damage during phacoemulsification procedures. This study aims to evaluate the effect of hypothermic perfusion on the expression of Superoxide Dismutase-1 (SOD1) and morphological changes in the corneal endothelium after ultrasound energy of phacoemulsification exposure.
Methods: Sixteen New Zealand white rabbits (n=16 eyes) were randomly divided into two groups and exposed to ultrasound energy of phacoemulsification. The control group was administered room temperature (RT) (24°C) Balanced Salt Solution (BSS) intraocular perfusion, and the treatment group was administered hypothermic (4°C) BSS intraocular perfusion. Coefficient of Variation (CV) and hexagonality were measured before and one day after surgery with specular microscopy. The expression of SOD1 was examined by immunohistochemistry staining. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 26 for Windows.
Results: The result showed that the SOD1 expression was significantly lower in the hypothermic perfusion group compared with the control group (p=0.024, p<0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups in CV changes (p=0.494, p>0.05) and hexagonality changes (p=0.916, p>0.05). There was no correlation between the expression of SOD1 and change in CV (p=0.188, p>0.05) or the expression of SOD1 and change in hexagonality (p=0.763, p>0.05).
Conclusion: Hypothermic perfusion suppresses all metabolic processes, including the expression of SOD1 and ROS production. The coefficient of variation and hexagonality as a representative of corneal endothelial morphology changes also decrease with hypothermic perfusion after ultrasound exposure but are not statistically significant. There is no correlation between the expression of SOD1 and changes in CV and hexagonality.