Differentiation status of limbal epithelial cells cultured on intact and denuded amniotic membrane before and after air-lifting
Chen, B., Mi, S., Wright, B. and Connon, C. J. (2010) Differentiation status of limbal epithelial cells cultured on intact and denuded amniotic membrane before and after air-lifting. Tissue Engineering, 16 (9). pp. 2721-2729. ISSN 1937-3341
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We have investigated differences in bovine limbal epithelial cell differentiation when expanded upon intact (amniotic epithelial cells and basement membrane remaining) and denuded human amniotic membrane, a commonly used substrate in ophthalmic surgery for corneal stem cell transplantation. Ex vivo expansion of the epithelial cells, in supplemented media, continued for 2 weeks followed by 1 week under ‘air-lifting’ conditions. Before and after air-lifting the differentiated (K3/K12 positive) and undifferentiated (K14 positive) cells were quantified by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and quantitative PCR. Limbal epithelial cells expanded upon amniotic membrane formed 4-6 stratified layers, both on intact and denuded amniotic membrane. On denuded amniotic membrane the proportion of differentiated cells remained unaltered following airlifting. Within cells grown on intact amniotic membrane, however, the number of differentiated cells increased significantly following air-lifting. These results have important implications for both basic and clinical research. Firstly, they show that bovine limbal epithelia can be used as an alternative source of cells for basic research investigating ex vivo limbal stem cells expansion. Secondly, these findings serve as a warning to clinicians that the affect of amniotic membrane on transplantable cells is not fully understood; the use of intact or denuded amniotic membrane can produce different results in terms of the amount of differentiation, once cells are exposed to the air.