In patients with limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), transplantation of . ex vivo expanded human limbal epithelial cells (HLECs) can restore the structural and functional integrity of the corneal surface. However, the protocol for cultivation and transplantation of HLECs differ significantly, and in most protocols growth additives such as cholera toxins, exogenous growth factors, hormones and fetal calf serum are used. In the present article, we compare for the first time human limbal epithelial cells (HLECs) cultivated on human amniotic membrane (HAM) in a complex medium (COM) including fetal bovine serum to a medium with human serum as single growth supplement (HSM), and report on our first examinations of HLECs expanded in autologous HSM and used for transplant procedures in patients with LSCD. Expanded HLECs were examined by genome-wide microarray, RT-PCR, Western blotting, and for cell viability, morphology, expression of immunohistochemical markers and colony forming efficiency. Cultivation of HLECs in HSM produced a multilayered epithelium where cells with markers associated with LESCs were detected in the basal layers. There were few transcriptional differences and comparable cell viability between cells cultivated in HSM and COM. The . p63 gene associated with LESCs were expressed 3.5 fold more in HSM compared to COM, and Western blotting confirmed a stronger p63α band in HSM cultures. The cornea-specific keratin CK12 was equally found in both culture conditions, while there were significantly more CK3 positive cells in HSM. Cells in epithelial sheets on HAM remaining after transplant surgery of patients with LSCD expressed central epithelial characteristics, and dissociated cells cultured at low density on growth-arrested fibroblasts produced clones containing 21 ± 12% cells positive for p63α (n = 3). In conclusion, a culture medium without growth additives derived from animals or from animal cell cultures and with human serum as single growth supplement may serve as an equivalent replacement for the commonly used complex medium for . ex vivo expansion of HLECs on HAM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience