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Young-tae Kim; Engineering Enabled Corneal Tissue: Biomimetic Corneal Stroma, Epithelium And Endothelium. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):329.
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Limited availability of transplantable donor corneas limits the number of corneal transplantations performed annually. This shortage of donor tissue affects the several million individuals suffering corneal blindness worldwide. The overall goal of the study is to build a complete three layer engineered corneal tissue constituting of the corneal epithelium, stroma and endothelium layer.
A biomimetic corneal stroma (BCS) equivalent based upon an understanding of the corneal stroma’s highly arranged structure has been created, and its micro-structural and optical properties were studied. Furthermore, both corneal epithelial and endothelial cells were seeded and cultured on a custom built engineered basal lamina (EBL, ultrathin, but mechanically strong film, containing all components of basal lamina) and respectively placed on the top or bottom of the BCS equivalent for building a three layer engineered corneal tissue.
The BCS is consisting of stacks of ultrathin (500-800nm), highly aligned and transparent (95% of transmittance of visible light) collagen type I films. The collagen film is a mechanically strong so that we can peel off and stack them as a multi-layer. The collagen films were stacked in a lattice arrangement (orthogonal) to fabricate an implantable BCS. The BCS equivalent does not degrade in a physiological solution for long periods of time, and furthermore, it maintains its original transparency (around 95%) and structural integrity. Rat corneal derived epithelial cells and endothelial cells robustly grew on the separate EBL film (500-800nm thick).
The novel BCS and EBL cultured epithelial and endothelial cells may provide unlimited transplantable corneal tissue equivalents for patents suffering from corneal blindness and unlimited equivalents for the pharmacological industry and the researcher as a scientific tool for developing a new medicine and for understanding cornea related questions.
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