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Eunjae Kim, Yong-Soo Byun, Sapna Tibrewal, Joy Sarkar, Yair Ivanir, Anubhav Pradeep, Wesley Jun, Sandeep Jain; Forced Differentiation of Corneal Stromal Cell Spheroids Yields Cells with Tissue-Resident Keratocyte Characteristics. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):4916.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Corneal stromal cells transform to precursor cells in spheroid culture. We determined whether keratocytes derived from spheroid culture of murine corneal stromal cells resemble tissue resident keratocytes.
Spheroid culture was performed by seeding dissociated stromal cells onto ultra-low attachment plates containing serum-free mesenchymal stem cell culture medium. Spheroids were characterized with phenotype specific markers and stemness transcription factor genes. Spheroids and adherent cells in culture were induced to differentiate to keratocytes using keratocyte induction medium (KIM) and compared with tissue resident keratocytes.
Stromal cells formed spheroids in ultra-low attachment plates, but not in polystyrene tissue culture dishes. Keratocan expression and abundance was significantly higher in spheroids as compared to adherent cells whereas alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) was significantly lower. As compared to adherent culture-derived cells, the expressions of keratocan, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH3A1) and α-SMA in spheroid-derived cells approximated much more closely the levels of these genes in tissue resident keratocytes. Of the stemness genes, Nanog and Oct4 were upregulated in the spheroids.
Stemness transcription factor genes are upregulated in spheroids. Keratocytes derived from spheroids resemble tissue resident keratocytes, thus increasing manifolds the quantity of these cells for in-vitro experiments.
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