"Salt and Pepper Endothelium" Recurring After Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty

Maria Satué, Lisanne Ham, Vasilis S Liarakos, Lamis Baydoun, Toine Hillenaar, Marieke Bruinsma, Gerrit R J Melles

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


PURPOSE: To describe the presence of "salt and pepper endothelium", that is, typical cellular inclusion bodies in a patient with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD), that recurred in the donor corneal endothelial cells after Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK).

METHODS: A 76-year-old man underwent DMEK for FECD in his left eye. Routine specular microscopy imaging, best-corrected visual acuity measurements, and pachymetry measurements were performed before and after surgery.

RESULTS: Besides large guttae indicating FECD, preoperative specular microscopy images showed variable-sized dark cellular inclusion bodies in the endothelial cells. One month after DMEK, donor endothelial cells appeared normal; however, at 3 months, the typical inclusion bodies reappeared and progressed slowly within a 4-year follow-up period. Both best-corrected visual acuity and pachymetry were stable throughout the study period.

CONCLUSIONS: "Salt and pepper endothelium" recurred after the host tissue was exchanged by donor Descemet membrane, that is, a DMEK graft. These changes may indicate that either the donor corneal endothelial cell morphology is modified by adjacent tissue structures or that it is completely replaced by recipient endothelium within the first months after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-5
Number of pages3
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Aged
  • Cell Count
  • Corneal Pachymetry
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty
  • Endothelium, Corneal/pathology
  • Female
  • Fuchs' Endothelial Dystrophy/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies/pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Tissue Donors


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