Seeding of corneal wounds by epithelial cell transfer from micropatterned PDMS contact lenses.

Pino CJ, Haselton FR, Chang MS
Cell Transplant. 2005 14 (8): 565-71

PMID: 16358410 · DOI:10.3727/000000005783982783

Persistent corneal wounds result from numerous eye disorders, and to date, available treatments often fail to accelerate reepithelialization, the key initial step in wound healing. To speed reepithelialization, we explored a cell-transfer transplant method utilizing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) contact lenses to deliver epithelial cells derived from limbal explants directly within a corneal wound. Human primary epithelial cells and an immortalized corneal epithelial cell line (HCE-SV40) grew well on PDMS contact lenses and their morphology and growth rates where similar to cells grown on tissue culture polystyrene. To initially study cell transfer from PDMS, HCE-SV40 cells were seeded onto PDMS with or without micropatterned posts. After a day in culture, HCE-SV40 cells attached to the unpatterned PDMS uniformly, whereas on micropatterned PDMS they appeared to attach primarily between posts. The cell-covered PDMS contacts were then placed cell-side down onto tissue culture plastic and, after 1, 2, or 3 days, the PDMS contact was removed and the transferred cells were trypsinized and counted. Micropatterned PDMS contact lenses with 100-microm-diameter posts and a post height of 40 microm transferred three times as many cells as unpatterned PDMS. Cell transfer to a wounded cornea was tested in a pig cornea organ culture model de-epithelialized by alkali treatment. Post micropatterned PDMS contact lenses were seeded with labeled HCE-SV40 cells at a density 50,000 cells/cm2 and applied to the wounded pig corneas. After 24, 48, or 96 h of application, PDMS contact lenses were removed, corneas fixed with formaldehyde, and sectioned. After 48 h, epithelial cells transferred from post micropatterned contact lenses to provide 35% epithelial coverage of denuded pig corneas; after 96 h coverage was 65%. We conclude that cell transfer from epithelial-coated PDMS contact lenses micropatterned with posts provides a promising approach to reepithelialize corneal surfaces.

MeSH Terms (13)

Cell Movement Cells, Cultured Contact Lenses Cornea Corneal Injuries Dimethylpolysiloxanes Epithelium, Corneal Humans Male Middle Aged Silicones Time Factors Wound Healing

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