Purpose Limbal epithelial stem cells (LESC) reside in a niche in the corneo-scleral transition zone. Deficiency leads to pain, corneal opacity, and eventually blindness. LESC transplantation of ex-vivo expanded human LESC on a carrier such as human amniotic membrane is a current treatment option. We evaluated decellularised human limbus (DHL) as a potential carrier matrix for the transplantation of LESC. Methods Human corneas were obtained from the local eye bank. The limbal tissue was decellularised by sodium desoxychelate and DNase solution and sterilised by γ-irradiation. Native limbus- and DHL-surface structures were assessed by scanning electron microscopy and collagen ultrastructure using transmission electron microscopy. Presence and preservation of limbal basement membrane proteins in native limbus and DHL were analysed immunohistochemically. Absence of DNA after decellularisation was assessed by Feulgen staining and DNA quantification. Presence of immune cells was explored by CD45 staining, and potential cytotoxicity was tested using a cell viability assay. Results In the DHL, the DNA content was reduced from 1.5 ± 0.3 μg/mg to 0.15 ± 0.01 μg/mg; the three-dimensional structure and the arrangement of the collagen fibrils were preserved. Main basement membrane proteins such as collagen IV, laminin, and fibronectin were still present after decellularisation and
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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