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Regen Med. 2009 May;4(3):461-70. doi: 10.2217/rme.09.7.

Culture conditions for primary human limbal epithelial cells.

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  • 1North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple, Exeter, UK.


The cornea at the front of the eye is covered by an epithelium. This epithelium is maintained by stem cells located at the periphery of the cornea, in a region known as the limbus. Because this region harbors the stem cells for the corneal epithelium, the so-called limbal stem cells, its culture provides considerable interest. Limbal epithelial culture is used for two main reasons. The first is to further our understanding of limbal stem-cell biology. The second is for the culture expansion of limbal stem cells for transplantation purposes in patients with limbal stem-cell deficiency. However, considerable variations in the culture methods for limbal epithelium exist. These include culture media, sera used in the culture, use of 3T3 fibroblasts or amniotic membrane or both, the culture of whole pieces of limbal tissue or enzymatically digested tissue, and the use of airlifting.

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