ResearchPad - corneal-transplantation Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Characterization of limbal explant sites: Optimization of stem cell outgrowth in <i>in vitro</i> culture]]> Simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET) and cultivated limbal epithelial transplantation (CLET) are proven techniques for treating limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). However, the precise regions that are most suitable for preparing explants for transplantation have not been identified conclusively. Accordingly, this in vitro study aimed at determining ideal sites to be selected for tissue harvest for limbal stem cell culture and transplantation. We evaluated cell outgrowth potential and the expression of stem cell markers in cultures from 48 limbal explants from five cadaveric donors. The limbal explants were generated from the three specific sites: Lcor (located innermost and adjacent to the cornea), Lm (middle limbus), and Lconj (located outermost adjacent to the conjunctiva). We found that explants from the Lconj and Lm sites exhibited higher growth potential than those from the Lcor site. Transcript encoding the stem cell marker and p63 isoform, ΔNp63, was detected in cells from Lm and Lconj explants; expression levels were slightly, though significantly (p-value < 0.05), higher in Lm than in Lconj, although expression of ΔNp63α protein was similar in cells from all explants. Differential expression of ATP-Binding Cassette Subfamily G Member 2 (ABCG2) did not reach statistical significance. Immunohistochemistry by indirect immunofluorescence analysis of limbus tissue revealed that the basal layer in explant tissue from Lconj and Lm contained markedly more stem cells than found in Lcor explant tissue; these findings correlate with a higher capacity for growth. Collectively, our findings suggest that explants from the Lconj and Lm sites should be selected for limbal cell expansion for both CLET and SLET procedures. These new insights may guide surgeons toward specific limbal sites that are most suitable for stem cell culture and transplantation and may ultimately improve treatment outcomes in the patients with LSCD.

<![CDATA[Immunological Properties of Corneal Epithelial-Like Cells Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells]]>

Transplantation of ex vivo expanded corneal limbal stem cells (LSCs) has been the main treatment for limbal stem cell deficiency, although the shortage of donor corneal tissues remains a major concern for its wide application. Due to the development of tissue engineering, embryonic stem cells (ESCs)-derived corneal epithelial-like cells (ESC-CECs) become a new direction for this issue. However, the immunogenicity of ESC-CECs is a critical matter to be solved. In the present study, we explored the immunological properties of ESC-CECs, which were differentiated from ESCs. The results showed that ESC-CECs had a similar character and function with LSCs both in vitro and in vivo. In ESC-CECs, a large number of genes related with immune response were down-regulated. The expressions of MHC-I, MHC-II, and co-stimulatory molecules were low, but the expression of HLA-G was high. The ESC-CECs were less responsible for T cell proliferation and NK cell lysis in vitro, and there was less immune cell infiltration after transplantation in vivo compared with LSCs. Moreover, the immunological properties were not affected by interferon-γ. All these results indicated a low immunogenicity of ESC-CECs, and they can be promising in clinical use.

<![CDATA[Corneal Transplantation in Disease Affecting Only One Eye: Does It Make a Difference to Habitual Binocular Viewing?]]>


Clarity of the transplanted tissue and restoration of visual acuity are the two primary metrics for evaluating the success of corneal transplantation. Participation of the transplanted eye in habitual binocular viewing is seldom evaluated post-operatively. In unilateral corneal disease, the transplanted eye may remain functionally inactive during binocular viewing due to its suboptimal visual acuity and poor image quality, vis-à-vis the healthy fellow eye.

Methods and Findings

This study prospectively quantified the contribution of the transplanted eye towards habitual binocular viewing in 25 cases with unilateral transplants [40yrs (IQR: 32–42yrs) and 25 age-matched controls [30yrs (25–37yrs)]. Binocular functions including visual field extent, high-contrast logMAR acuity, suppression threshold and stereoacuity were assessed using standard psychophysical paradigms. Optical quality of all eyes was determined from wavefront aberrometry measurements.

Binocular visual field expanded by a median 21% (IQR: 18–29%) compared to the monocular field of cases and controls (p = 0.63). Binocular logMAR acuity [0.0 (0.0–0.0)] almost always followed the fellow eye’s acuity [0.00 (0.00 –-0.02)] (r = 0.82), independent of the transplanted eye’s acuity [0.34 (0.2–0.5)] (r = 0.04). Suppression threshold and stereoacuity were poorer in cases [30.1% (13.5–44.3%); 620.8arc sec (370.3–988.2arc sec)] than in controls [79% (63.5–100%); 16.3arc sec (10.6–25.5arc sec)] (p<0.001). Higher-order wavefront aberrations of the transplanted eye [0.34μ (0.21–0.51μ)] were higher than the fellow eye [0.07μ (0.05–0.11μ)] (p<0.001) and their reduction with RGP contact lenses [0.09μ (0.08–0.12μ)] significantly improved the suppression threshold [65% (50–72%)] and stereoacuity [56.6arc sec (47.7–181.6arc sec)] (p<0.001).


In unilateral corneal disease, the transplanted eye does participate in gross binocular viewing but offers limited support to fine levels of binocularity. Improvement in the transplanted eye’s optics enhances its participation in binocular viewing. Current metrics of this treatment success can expand to include measures of binocularity to assess the functional benefit of the transplantation process in unilateral corneal disease.

<![CDATA[Human Bone Derived Collagen for the Development of an Artificial Corneal Endothelial Graft. In Vivo Results in a Rabbit Model]]>

Corneal keratoplasty (penetrating or lamellar) using cadaveric human tissue, is nowadays the main treatment for corneal endotelial dysfunctions. However, there is a worldwide shortage of donor corneas available for transplantation and about 53% of the world’s population have no access to corneal transplantation. Generating a complete cornea by tissue engineering is still a tough goal, but an endothelial lamellar graft might be an easier task. In this study, we developed a tissue engineered corneal endothelium by culturing human corneal endothelial cells on a human purified type I collagen membrane. Human corneal endothelial cells were cultured from corneal rims after corneal penetrating keratoplasty and type I collagen was isolated from remnant cancellous bone chips. Isolated type I collagen was analyzed by western blot, liquid chromatography -mass spectrometry and quantified using the exponentially modified protein abundance index. Later on, collagen solution was casted at room temperature obtaining an optically transparent and mechanically manageable membrane that supports the growth of human and rabbit corneal endothelial cells which expressed characteristic markers of corneal endothelium: zonula ocluddens-1 and Na+/K+ ATPase. To evaluate the therapeutic efficiency of our artificial endothelial grafts, human purified type I collagen membranes cultured with rabbit corneal endothelial cells were transplanted in New Zealand white rabbits that were kept under a minimal immunosuppression regimen. Transplanted corneas maintained transparency for as long as 6 weeks without obvious edema or immune rejection and maintaining the same endothelial markers that in a healthy cornea. In conclusion, it is possible to develop an artificial human corneal endothelial graft using remnant tissues that are not employed in transplant procedures. This artificial endothelial graft can restore the integrality of corneal endothelium in an experimental model of endothelial dysfunction. This strategy could supply extra endothelial tissue and compensate the deficit of cadaveric grafts for corneal endothelial transplantation.

<![CDATA[Comparative Analysis of Substrate-Free Cultured Oral Mucosal Epithelial Cell Sheets from Cells of Subjects with and without Stevens—Johnson Syndrome for Use in Ocular Surface Reconstruction]]>


To compare the regenerative potential of cultured oral mucosal epithelial cells sheets (COMECs) from Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) subjects with those from non-SJS subjects.


Human oral mucosal epithelial cells from SJS and non-SJS subjects were cultured, and colony-forming efficiency (CFE), proliferative and migration potential, expression of cytokines/growth factors and stem cells were compared. COMECs from SJS and non-SJS subjects were transplanted into 12 limbal stem cell-deficient rabbits, and their regenerative potential was analyzed at 1 week after transplantation.


CFE (p>0.05, student’s t test), cell proliferation potential (p>0.05, two-way ANOVA) and expression of the cytokeratins (K3, K4, K13, K19) in the oral mucosal epithelial cells from SJS subjects were similar to those of the cells from non-SJS subjects. The initial migratory potential of SJS cells was delayed compared to that of non-SJS cells (p <0.05, RM two-way ANOVA). The SJS cells expressed lower levels of EGF and higher levels of VEGF compared to that of non-SJS cells (p<0.05, one-way ANOVA). In vivo transplanted SJS-COMECs showed similar expression of K3, K4, and K13, proliferation markers (Ki-67; p>0.05, Mann-Whitney U test), and stem cell markers (p63; p>0.05, Mann-Whitney U test) compared to non-SJS COMECs. The initial epithelial defects in vivo were larger in the eyes treated with SJS-COMECs on day 3 (p<0.01, RM two-way ANOVA), but no differences were observed by day 7 between SJS- and non-SJS-COMECs.


These results suggest that, aside from differences in migratory potential, oral mucosal epithelial cells from SJS and non-SJS subjects are comparable in their regeneration potential in treating limbal stem cell deficiency.

<![CDATA[Three-Dimensional Construction of a Rabbit Anterior Corneal Replacement for Lamellar Keratoplasty]]>

The aim of this study was to construct a rabbit anterior corneal replacement for transplantation using acellular porcine corneal matrix (APCM) and rabbit epithelial or stromal cells. APCM was prepared from fresh porcine cornea treated with 0.5% (wt./vol.) sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) solution. The expanded stromal cells were first injected into APCM parallel to its surface and were cultured in a shaking culture system for 7 days to obtain the stromal construct. Next, corneal epithelial cells were cultured on the stromal construct surface for another 7 days to obtain rabbit anterior corneal lamella. The construct had a phenotype similar to that of normal cornea, with high expression of cytokeratin 3 in the epithelial cell layer and vimentin in the stromal cells. More importantly, the construct integrated well with the implanted host corneal tissue, and the implant cornea maintained transparency in the 6-month follow-up, although there was a slight haze in the central corneal area. The endothelium in the surgery cornea had a similar cell density and mosaic pattern with normal cornea as shown by confocal laser corneal microscopy, and the regenerated corneal epithelial cells on the implant surface showed a similar morphology to that of natural epithelial cells. These results demonstrate that the constructed anterior corneal replacement exhibits an excellent biological property for lamellar keratoplasty and might be a possible alternative to human corneal tissue in the future.