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Stem Cells. 2015 Jun;33(6):1685-95. doi: 10.1002/stem.1999.

Concise review: transplantation of cultured oral mucosal epithelial cells for treating limbal stem cell deficiency-current status and future perspectives.

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Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


A number of diseases and external factors can deplete limbal stem cells, causing pain and visual loss. Ten years have passed since the first transplantation of cultured oral mucosal epithelial cells in humans, representing the first autologous cell-based therapy for severe bilateral limbal stem cell deficiency. Its steady increase in popularity since then can be attributed to the accumulating evidence of its efficacy in reverting limbal stem cell deficiency. In this review, the focus is on clinical, and to a lesser degree laboratory, features of cultured oral mucosal epithelial transplants over the past 10 years. Comparisons with other available technologies are made. Avenues for research to stimulate further improvements in clinical results and allow worldwide distribution of limbal stem cell therapy based on oral mucosal cells are discussed. These include storage and transportation of cultured oral mucosal epithelial sheets and in vivo culture of oral mucosal epithelial cells.


Limbal stem cell deficiency; Oral mucosal epithelial cells; Stem cell transplantation; Tissue regeneration

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