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Mol Vis. 2011 Mar 8;17:658-66.

Limbal fibroblast conditioned media: a non-invasive treatment for limbal stem cell deficiency.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA.



Limbal fibroblasts are known to regulate the maintenance and differentiation of the corneal epithelium including the limbal epithelial stem cells. This study examined the effect of limbal fibroblast conditioned media in a mouse model of limbal stem cell deficiency.


Limbal stem cell deficiency was created in C57/Bl6 mice by performing a limbus to limbus epithelial debridement. The mice were treated topically for 3 weeks with conditioned media derived from human limbal fibroblasts. The control mice were treated with skin fibroblast conditioned media or Dulbecco's serum-free medium.


The mice treated with limbal fibroblast conditioned media demonstrated substantial growth of corneal type epithelial cells on the corneal surface with less conjunctival goblet cells. By contrast, the control treated corneas were found to be covered primarily by conjunctival type epithelium.


Cell culture media conditioned by limbal fibroblasts appear to contain factor(s) that are therapeutically beneficial in a model of limbal stem cell deficiency. The current results further support the notion that the essential limbal stem cell niche is provided by limbal fibroblasts and suggest a new, non-invasive option in the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency.

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