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SYNCHROTRON X-RAY-DIFFRACTION STUDIES OF THE CORNEA, WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR STROMAL HYDRATION

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  • K M MEEK
  • N J FULLWOOD
  • P H COOKE
  • G F ELLIOTT
  • D M MAURICE
  • A J QUANTOCK
  • R S WALL
  • C R WORTHINGTON
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/1991
<mark>Journal</mark>Biophysical Journal
Issue number2
Volume60
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)467-474
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The intermolecular and interfibrillar spacings of collagen in bovine corneal stroma have been measured as a function of tissue hydration. Data were recorded from low- and high-angle x-ray diffraction patterns obtained using a high intensity synchrotron source. The most frequently occurring interfibrillar spacing varied from 34 nm in dry corneas to 76 nm at H = 5 (the hydration, H, is defined as the ratio of the weight of water to the dry weight). The most frequently occurring intermolecular Bragg spacing increased from 1.15 nm (dry) to approximately 1.60 nm at normal hydration (H almost-equal-to 3.2) and continued to increase only slowly above normal hydration. Most of the increase in the intermolecular spacing occurred between H = 0 and H = 1. Over this hydration range the interfibrillar and intermolecular spacings moved in tandem, which suggests that the initial water goes equally within and between the fibrils. Above H = 1 water goes preferentially between the fibrils. The results suggest that, even at normal hydration, water does not fill the interfibrillar space uniformly, and a proportion is located in another space or compartment. In dried-then-rehydrated corneas, a larger proportion ot the water goes into this other compartment. In both cases, it is possible to postulate a second set or population of fibrils that are more widely and irregularly separated and therefore do not contribute significantly to the diffraction pattern.