MAR 12, 2014
This animal study demonstrated the successful use of a contact lens as both a scaffold for limbal stem cell outgrowth and as a carrier for the cultivated cells to allow for integration of the cells on the ocular surface. This novel technique offers an easily manipulable and nonimmunogenic method for transferring limbal stem cells for ocular surface reconstruction in patients with limbal epithelial stem cell deficiency.
The advantage of this technique is ease of use with a transparent scaffold that allows for a nontoxic transfer of stem cells onto the ocular surface. Although it is still a long way from being used in humans, its potential for use in ocular surface reconstruction after limbal stem cell deficiency makes this a very interesting study and the research worth following.
The researchers isolated limbal epithelial cells from rabbit corneas. The limbal epithelial cells were then cultured on contact lenses with 3T3 feeder cells that help to initiate limbal stem cell colony formation and prevent epithelial differentiation of the cells. They were later transferred to rabbit eyes after surgical keratectomy, and the transition and phenotype of labeled cells on the corneal surface were flat mounted on slides and evaluated.
The authors found that limbal cells cultivated on the contact lens carrier were mitotically active and retained the limbal stem cell phenotype. They conclude that that using contact lenses as a carrier of cultivated cells enabled the transition and integration of cells to the ocular surface.