April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
Biomaterials for Retinal Transplantation
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • C. D. Pritchard
    M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • K. M. Arner
    Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
  • R. A. Neal
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • W. L. Neeley
    M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • E. A. Botchwey
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • R. S. Langer
    M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • F. K. Ghosh
    Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  C.D. Pritchard, None; K.M. Arner, None; R.A. Neal, None; W.L. Neeley, None; E.A. Botchwey, None; R.S. Langer, None; F.K. Ghosh, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grants: DE013023 and HL060435. NEI: 1 F32 EY018285-01, CIMIT, Swedish Research Council, Princess Margaretas Foundation, Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundation, Richard and Gail Siegal Gift Fund.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 5247. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      C. D. Pritchard, K. M. Arner, R. A. Neal, W. L. Neeley, E. A. Botchwey, R. S. Langer, F. K. Ghosh; Biomaterials for Retinal Transplantation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5247.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Retinal transplantation experiments have advanced considerably, but diseased photoreceptor cells in host retinas and inner retinal cells in transplants obstruct the development of graft-host neuronal contacts. We recently developed methods for the isolation of donor photoreceptor layers in vitro, and the selective removal of host photoreceptors in vivo using biodegradable elastomeric membranes composed of poly(glycerol-co-sebacic acid) (PGS). In this study, surface modification of PGS membranes was performed to promote the attachment of photoreceptor layers, allowing the composite to be handled surgically as a single entity.


PGS membranes were chemically modified with peptides containing an arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) extracellular matrix ligand sequence. PGS membranes were also coated with electrospun nanofiber meshes, containing laminin and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). Embryonic porcine retinal tissue was isolated and co-cultured with biomaterial membranes in vitro. Composites were subsequently tested for surgical handling ability. The composition and organization of the retinal layers adhered to the biomaterial membranes was examined using histological and immunofluorescence staining.


Electrospun nanofibers composed of laminin and PCL promoted sufficient cell adhesion for simultaneous transplantation of isolated photoreceptor layers and PGS membranes. Composites developed large populations of recoverin and rhodopsin labeled photoreceptors. Furthermore, ganglion cells, rod bipolar cells and AII amacrine cells were absent in co-cultured retinas as observed by neurofilament, PKC and parvalbumin labeling respectively.


Electrospun nanofibers promote adhesion of retinal explants, permitting retinal transplantation experiments in which a composite graft composed of a biodegradable membrane adhered to an immature retina dominated by photoreceptor cells may be delivered into the sub-retinal space in a single surgery, with the potential to improve graft-host neuronal connections.  

Keywords: transplantation • photoreceptors • retinal culture 

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