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Kevin J. McHugh, Sarah L. Tao, Magali Saint-Geniez; Porous Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Scaffolds for Retinal Pigment Epithelium Transplantation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(3):1754-1762. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12833.
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Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) transplantation is a promising strategy for the treatment of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, previous attempts at subretinal RPE cell transplantation have experienced limited success due to poor adhesion, organization, and function on aged or diseased Bruch's membrane. Instead, cell-based strategies may benefit from a synthetic scaffold that mimics the functions of healthy Bruch's membrane to promote the formation of a functional RPE monolayer while maintaining metabolite exchange between the vasculature and outer retina.
This study evaluated the behavior of human RPE on nanopatterned porous poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) film as a potential scaffold for therapeutic transplantation. Fetal human RPE (fhRPE) was cultured on porous PCL, nonporous PCL, or Costar porous polyester transwells for up to 8 weeks and assessed using light microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, transepithelial resistance, quantitative PCR, ELISAs, and phagocytosis assays.
fhRPE on porous PCL displayed improved markers of maturity and function compared with both porous polyester transwells and nonporous PCL, including pigmentation, increased cell density, superior barrier function, up-regulation of RPE-specific genes, and polarized growth factor secretion.
This study indicates that porous PCL is an attractive scaffold for RPE transplantation. In addition to being biocompatible with the subretinal space, porous PCL also allows for trans-scaffold metabolite transport and significantly improves RPE cell behavior compared to nonporous PCL or porous polyester transwells.
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