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A dual-layer silk fibroin scaffold for reconstructing the human corneal limbus

By Laura J. Bray, Karina A. George, Dietmar W. Hutmacher, Traian V. Chirila and Damien G. Harkin

Abstract

Membranes prepared from Bombyx mori silk fibroin have shown potential as a substrate for human limbal epithelial (L-EC) and stromal cell cultivation. Here we present fibroin as a dual-layer construct containing both an epithelium and underlying stroma for corneolimbal reconstruction. We have compared the growth and phenotype of L-EC on non-porous versus porous fibroin membranes. Furthermore, we have compared the growth of limbal mesenchymal stromal cells (L-MSC) in either serum-supplemented medium or the MesenCult-XF® culture system within fibroin fibrous mats. The co-culture of L-EC and L-MSC in fibroin dual-layer constructs was also examined. L-EC on porous membranes displayed a squamous monolayer; in contrast, L-EC on non-porous fibroin appeared cuboidal and stratified. Both constructs maintained evidence of corneal phenotype (cytokeratin 3/12) and distribution of ΔNp63+ progenitor cells. L-MSC cultivated within fibroin fibrous mats in serum-supplemented medium contained less than 64% of cells expressing the characteristic MSC phenotype of CD73+CD90+CD105+ after two weeks, compared with over 81% in MesenCult-XF® medium. Dual-layer fibroin scaffolds consisting of L-EC and L-MSC maintained a similar phenotype as on the separate layers. These results support the feasibility of a 3D engineered limbus constructed from B. mori silk fibroin, and warrant further studies into the potential benefits it offers to corneolimbal tissue regeneration

Topics: 110000 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES, Silk fibroin; Cornea; Limbus; Epithelium; Mesenchymal stromal cells
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.01.045
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:49136
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