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Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 2;7(1):12517. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12598-8.

Human in vitro Model Reveals the Effects of Collagen Cross-linking on Keratoconus Pathogenesis.

Author information

1
Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus C, Denmark.
3
Department of Ophthalmology/Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
4
Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. Dimitrios-Karamichos@ouhsc.edu.
5
Department of Ophthalmology/Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. Dimitrios-Karamichos@ouhsc.edu.

Abstract

Keratoconus (KC) is a corneal thinning disorder that leads to severe vision impairment As opposed to corneal transplantation; corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) is a relatively non-invasive procedure that leads to an increase in corneal stiffness. In order to evaluate the effect of CXL on human corneal stromal cells in vitro, we developed a 3-D in vitro CXL model, using primary Human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs) from healthy patients and Human Keratoconus fibroblasts (HKCs) from KC patients. Cells were plated on transwell polycarbonate membranes and stimulated by a stable vitamin C. CXL was performed using a mixed riboflavin 0.1% PBS solution followed by UVA irradiation. Our data revealed no significant apoptosis in either HCFs or HKCs following CXL. However, corneal fibrosis markers, Collagen III and α-smooth muscle actin, were significantly downregulated in CXL HKCs. Furthermore, a significant downregulation was seen in SMAD3, SMAD7, and phosphorylated SMADs -2 and -3 expression in CXL HKCs, contrary to a significant upregulation in both SMAD2 and Lysyl oxidase expression, compared to HCFs. Our novel 3-D in vitro model can be utilized to determine the cellular and molecular effects on the human corneal stroma post CXL, and promises to establish optimized treatment modalities in patients with KC.

PMID:
28970517
PMCID:
PMC5624875
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-12598-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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