Finding an Optimal Corneal Xenograft Using Comparative Analysis of Corneal Matrix Proteins Across Species.

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Numerous animal species have been proposed as sources of corneal tissue for obtaining decellularized xenografts. The selection of an appropriate animal model must take into consideration the differences in the composition and structure of corneal proteins between humans and other animal species in order to minimize immune response and improve outcome of the xenotransplant. Here, we compared the amino-acid sequences of 16 proteins present in the corneal stromal matrix of 14 different animal species using Basic Local Alignment Search Tool, and calculated a similarity score compared to the respective human sequence. Primary amino acid structures, isoelectric point and grand average of hydropathy (GRAVY) values of the 7 most abundant proteins (i.e. collagen α-1 (I), α-1 (VI), α-2 (I) and α-3 (VI), as well as decorin, lumican, and keratocan) were also extracted and compared to those of human. The pig had the highest similarity score (91.8%). All species showed a lower proline content compared to human. Isoelectric point of pig (7.1) was the closest to the human. Most species have higher GRAVY values compared to human except horse. Our results suggest that porcine cornea has a higher relative suitability for corneal transplantation into humans compared to other studied species.
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