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Heather A. Thomson, Andrew J. Treharne, Jennifer A. Scott, Martin C. Grossel, Andrew J. Lotery; Developing Methacrylate-based Copolymers As An Artificial Bruch’S Membrane. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):274.
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The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a primary target for cellular replacement in degenerative ocular diseases such as Age-related Macular Degeneration. Bruch’s membrane (BM) is the supportive structure upon which RPE cells are normally attached. However, in advanced retinal disease the basal lamina layer of BM may be damaged. Thus, it is increasingly difficult for newly transplanted cells to attach in this non-permissive environment. Therefore we propose the manufacture of a novel artificial BM to facilitate RPE cell transplantation.
Methyl methacrylate and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) methacrylate copolymers were used to produce novel electrospun scaffolds. Scaffolds were chemically modified to improve cell adhesion by functionalisation not previously reported for this type of copolymer system. Scaffold-cell interactions were assessed using a human RPE cell line for up to 15 days in vitro. Scanning electron microscopy was used to characterise the fibres produced and to confirm cell attachment. While cell membrane integrity and mitochondrial activity were used as a measure of cell viability.
SEM images indicated the formation of a cellular monolayer on thesurface of the scaffold. Cells appeared to have retained a typical cobblestone morphology with apparent apical microvilli, indicative of appropriate polarization. By day 15, cell area was significantly (p<0.001) enhanced on scaffolds with chemical modification of the PEG chain terminus. In addition, significantly less apoptotic cell death was demonstrable on these modified surfaces
This system shows great potential for use as an artificial BM, providing a permanent support to the RPE.
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