Plastic compression of a collagen gel forms a much improved scaffold for ocular surface tissue engineering over conventional collagen gels
Mi, S., Chen, B., Wright, B. and Connon, C. J. (2010) Plastic compression of a collagen gel forms a much improved scaffold for ocular surface tissue engineering over conventional collagen gels. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 95A (2). pp. 447-453. ISSN 1549-3296
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.32861
We compare the use of plastically compressed collagen gels to conventional collagen gels as scaffolds onto which corneal limbal epithelial cells (LECs) are seeded to construct an artificial corneal epithelium. LECs were isolated from bovine corneas (limbus) and seeded onto either conventional uncompressed or novel compressed collagen gels and grown in culture. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results showed that fibers within the uncompressed gel were loose and irregularly ordered, whereas the fibers within the compressed gel were densely packed and more evenly arranged. Quantitative analysis of LECs expansion across the surface of the two gels showed similar growth rates (p > 0.05). Under SEM, the LECs, expanded on uncompressed gels, showed a rough and heterogeneous morphology, whereas on the compressed gel, the cells displayed a smooth and homogeneous morphology. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) results showed the compressed scaffold to contain collagen fibers of regular diameter and similar orientation resembling collagen fibers within the normal cornea. TEM and light microscopy also showed that cell–cell and cell–matrix attachment, stratification, and cell density were superior in LECs expanded upon compressed collagen gels. This study demonstrated that the compressed collagen gel was an excellent biomaterial scaffold highly suited to the construction of an artificial corneal epithelium and a significant improvement upon conventional collagen gels.