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Yun Feng, Ying Li, Jing Zhang, Che J. Connon, Wei Wang; In Vivo Confocal Microscopic Study on Tissue-engineered Cornea Constructed by Bone Marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) and Xenogenic Acellular Corneal Scaffolds (XACS) in Rabbit Lamellar Transplantation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5141.
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To explore the clinical outcome after transplantation with a tissue-engineered cornea in vitro with rabbit bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and xenogenic acellular cornea scaffold (XACS)
The XACS were generated from dog corneas. The MSCs were evaluated by flow-cytometry and multiple differentiations. The rabbits (n=13) were divided into 2 groups by different cornea grafts in lamellar transplantation, 1) XACS group: xenogenic acellular corneal scaffolds (n=6); 2) MSCs groups: the tissue engineered cornea made up with XACS and MSCs (n=7). Normal rabbit corneas (n=4) are as the control. The clinical changes of the cornea were examined by a slit lamp microscope and confocal microscopy Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II Rostock Cornea Module in vivo.
No neovascularization was observed on the cornea graft in MSCs group 6 months after the transplantation while the new vessels grew on the cornea graft in XACS group 1 month postoperatively. There are no significant differences in posterior stroma and endothelium cell density in both groups, however, the epithelium cell density and anterior stromal cell density both are observed much lower in MSC group than in XACS group (epithelium cell density:XACS:5769±465,MSC:3056±787;stromal cell density:XACS:766±91,MSC:174±37) six months postoperatively. A wide acellular zone was detected in each graft and maintained 6 months postoperatively in the MSC group. There were no nerves detected in deep matrix in the MSC group, though the subbasal nerve fiber complex could be observed. However, both can be seen in XACS group but differed from normal nerves.
We have successfully generated a tissue-engineered cornea comprising MSCs on XACS in vitro, which demonstrated the great potential for lamellar transplantation. We found that MSCs probably inhibited not only new vessels but also the cell migration and nerve growth in vivo
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