Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Mol Med. 2010 Dec;10(9):841-50.

Critical appraisal of ex vivo expansion of human limbal epithelial stem cells.

Author information

  • 1Research and Development Department, Tissue Tech, Inc., and Ocular Surface Center Miami, FL, USA.


The stem cells (SCs) of the corneal epithelium located in the limbal basal layer are the ultimate source to maintain corneal epithelial homeostasis. Like other adult tissue-specific SCs, self renewal and fate decision of limbal SCs are regulated by a specialized in vivo microenvironment, termed "niche". Loss of limbal SCs or dysfunction of the limbal niche renders corneas with a unique clinical disease labeled limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). Besides transplantation of autologous or allogeneic limbal SCs or amniotic membrane, a new strategy of treating LSCD is to transplant a bio-engineered graft by expanding limbal SCs ex vivo. Herein, we conduct a critical appraisal of six protocols that have successfully been practiced in treating human patients with LSCD, and identify issues whether niche regulation has been disrupted or maintained during isolation and expansion. Consequently, we propose a future direction that may circumvent the potential pitfalls existing in these conventional protocols by preserving the interaction between limbal SCs and their native niche cells during isolation and expansion. Such an approach may one day help realize considerable promise held by adult SCs in treating a number of diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk