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Seeding of Corneal Wounds by Epithelial Cell Transfer From Micropatterned PDMS Contact Lenses

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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-m-diameter posts and a post height of 40 m 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.

Keywords: Contact lens; Cornea; Primary epithelial cells; Transfer; Wound healing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA 2: Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA 3: Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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