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Biomaterials. 2008 Feb;29(4):418-26. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

A microfabricated scaffold for retinal progenitor cell grafting.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Diseases that cause photoreceptor cell degeneration afflict millions of people, yet no restorative treatment exists for these blinding disorders. Replacement of photoreceptors using retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) represents a promising therapy for the treatment of retinal degeneration. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of polymer scaffolds to increase significantly both the survival and differentiation of RPCs. We report the microfabrication of a poly(glycerol-sebacate) scaffold with superior mechanical properties for the delivery of RPCs to the subretinal space. Using a replica molding technique, a porous poly(glycerol-sebacate) scaffold with a thickness of 45 microm was fabricated. Evaluation of the mechanical properties of this scaffold showed that the Young's modulus is about 5-fold lower and the maximum elongation at failure is about 10-fold higher than the previously reported RPC scaffolds. RPCs strongly adhered to the poly(glycerol-sebacate) scaffold, and endogenous fluorescence nearly doubled over a 2-day period before leveling off after 3 days. Immunohistochemistry revealed that cells grown on the scaffold for 7 days expressed a mixture of immature and mature markers, suggesting a tendency towards differentiation. We conclude that microfabricated poly(glycerol-sebacate) exhibits a number of novel properties for use as a scaffold for RPC delivery.

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