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Shengli Mi, Vitaliy Khutoryanskiy, Che Connon; Photochemical Cross-linking Of Plastically Compressed Collagen Gel Produces An Improved And Novel Scaffold For Corneal Tissue Engineering. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):294.
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Previously we have shown how PCC gels can improve limbal cell expansion. However, these gels still lack sufficient mechanical strength to replace corneal stroma. Therefore, the experiments were designed to use photochemically cross-linked plastically compressed collagen (PCPCC) gel to support corneal epithelial cells.
The experiments were designed to use photochemically cross-linked plastically compressed collagen (PCPCC) gel to support corneal epithelial cells. A plastically compressed collagen (PCC) scaffold was photo cross-linked by UVA in the presence of riboflavin to form a biomaterial with improved mechanical properties. The breaking force, rheology, surgical suture strength, transparency, ultrastructure and cell-based biocompatibility were compared between PCPCC and PCC gels.
The breaking force increased proportionally with an increased concentration of riboflavin. The stress required to reach breaking point of the PCPCC scaffolds was over 210% more than to break PCC scaffolds in the presence of 0.1% riboflavin. Rheology results indicated that the structural properties of PCC remain unaltered after UVA cross-linking. The PCC gels were more easily broken than PCPCC gels when sutured on to bovine corneas. The optical density values of PCPCC and PCC showed no significant differences (P>0.05). SEM analyses showed that the collagen fibres within the PCPCC gels were similar in morphology to PCC gels. No difference in cell-based biocompatibility was seen between the PCPCC and PCC scaffolds in terms of their ability to support the ex vivo expansion of corneal epithelial cells or their subsequent differentiation evidenced by similar levels of cytokeratin 14.
This study provides the first line of evidence that PCPCC scaffold is an optimal biomaterial for use in therapeutic tissue engineering of the cornea.
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