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Curr Eye Res. 2018 May;43(5):621-629. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2018.1434896. Epub 2018 Feb 5.

Ulinastatin Supplementation During Human Amniotic Membrane Preservation to Improve its Viability.

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a Graduate School of Chung-Ang University, College of Medicine , Seoul , Korea.
b Department of Ophthalmology , College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University Hospital , Seoul , Korea.
c SK Bioland , Cheonan-si , Chungcheongnam-do , Korea.



The amniotic membrane (AM) is the transparent innermost layer of the placenta and it facilitates rapid wound healing in a diversity of ocular surface disorders. However, extended periods of cryopreservation before use induce significant impairment of cell viability due to oxidative stresses and inflammatory responses. We investigated the effect of supplementing ulinastatin (ULI), a known serine protease inhibitor, and relevant mechanisms of action in AM preservation solution through the hypothermic continuum on inflammatory and apoptotic signals and viability of AM tissue.


The expression of inflammatory signal factors, including high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) and anti-TNF-inducible gene 6 (TSG-6) which is a TNF-α-inducible anti-inflammatory protein, and the expression of apoptotic signal factors, including caspase (Cas)-9 and Cas-8, the initiators, and Cas-3, the executioner caspase and Bax were analyzed with or without ULI during hypothermic preservation of human AM. Subsequently, the actual viability of human AM tissue was verified with or without ULI supplementation throughout hypothermic continuum (both hypothermic- and cryopreservation).


Hypothermic AM preservation with ULI for 48 h resulted in downregulated expression of cold-inducible inflammatory factors, including HMGB1 and NF-κB, as well as RIPK3. In addition, ULI suppressed apoptotic signals related with Cas-9, Cas-8, and Cas-3 under hypothermic conditions. Furthermore, ULI supplementation during hypothermic- and cryopreservation of AM significantly enhanced viability of AM tissue and amniotic epithelial cells.


Supplementation of ULI during human AM preservation through the hypothermic continuum may be a feasible dual anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic strategy that enhances the viability of AM tissue.


Ulinastatin; amniotic membrane; apoptosis; cryopreservation; viability

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