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Biomaterials. 2011 Jun;32(17):4076-84. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.034. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Human corneal endothelial cell growth on a silk fibroin membrane.

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1
Queensland Eye Institute, 41 Annerley Road, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, Australia. peter.madden@qei.org.au

Abstract

Tissue engineering of the cornea could overcome shortages of donor corneas for transplantation and improve quality. Our aim was to grow an endothelial layer on a substratum suitable for transplant. Silkworm (Bombyx mori) fibroin was prepared as 5 μm thick transparent membranes. The B4G12 cell line was used to assess attachment and growth of human corneal endothelial cells on fibroin and compare this with a reference substratum of tissue-culture plastic. To see if cell attachment and proliferation could be improved, we assessed coatings of collagen IV, FNC Coating Mix(®) and a chondroitin sulphate-laminin mixture. All the coatings improved the final mean cell count, but consistently higher cell densities were achieved on a tissue-culture plastic rather than fibroin substratum. Collagen-coated substrata were the best of both groups and collagen-coated fibroin was comparable to uncoated tissue-culture plastic. Only fibroin with collagen coating achieved cell confluency. Primary human corneal endothelial cells were then grown using a sphere-forming technique and when seeded onto collagen-coated fibroin they grew to confluency with polygonal morphology. We report the first successful growth of primary human corneal endothelial cells on coated fibroin as a step in evaluating fibroin as a substratum for the transplantation of tissue-constructs for endothelial keratoplasty.

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