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A. Kadakia, M. Shafiq, A. Namavari, R. A. Gemeinhart, M. Cho, A. Djalilian; Collagen Encourages Host Cell Integration Within a Superporous Tissue Engineered Cornea. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):1511.
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A limitation of many synthetic artificial corneas is minimal host tissue integration. This can lead to infection, melting, or extrusion. While their skirts are porous to create a pathway for host cell migration, generally these synthetic skirts lack cues to promote cell adhesion. To overcome this, we incorporated collagen within a synthetic (polyethylene glycol diacrylate, PEGDA) superporous hydrogel (SPH). Previously we showed that collagenous SPHs improved cell adhesion, migration, and retention in vitro. We therefore hypothesize that collagen enhanced SPHs will result in improved host cell integration when implanted in vivo.
A dehydrated PEGDA based SPH was soaked in a collagen type 1 solution. Collagen gelation in 3-D within the pores, resulted in an interconnected porous hybrid scaffold. Non hybrid scaffolds as controls were created by swelling dehydrated SPHs in cell culture media without collagen. Both types of scaffolds were implanted in rat corneas. The implant was tucked within a stromal pocket for 3 weeks to allow sufficient time for host cell migration and 3-D integration of the implant. At 1, 2, and 3 weeks, implants were removed, sectioned, and stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E).
Grossly, collagenous SPHs showed a greater inflammatory response and increased angiogenesis compared to noncollagenous SPHs. Microscopically, collagen enhanced scaffolds appeared to have increased cell numbers within the scaffold at earlier time points. There were no infections or extrusions of the implant. More long-term studies are ongoing.
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