The Behaviors of Corneal Endothelial Cells on Biodegradable Biomaterials and the Interaction between Corneal Endothelial Cells and Corneal Keratocytes

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


Corneal endothelial cells (CECs) compose a single cell layer to form a boundary between the anterior chamber and the corneal stroma. They provide corneal transparency by their pump and barrier function. Lacking sturdy proliferative abilities in vivo makes corneal endothelium a delicate tissue. Accidental or surgical trauma, dystrophy, and pathological corneal edema may lead to impaired vision and even blindness due to decomposition of corneal endothelium. In this situation, only posterior corneal transplantation instead of traditional penetrating keratoplasty may rescue the vision in these patients. However, all kinds of these surgeries face the problem of global shortage in donor corneas and immune rejection from allograft transplantation. The development of ex vivo culture system by tissue engineering to establish the cultivated corneal endothelial sheet is the current trend in the world. Traditionally, tissue culture plates (TCPS) were used to cultivate corneal endothelial cells. However, the fibroblastic transformation occurs easily. Once this happens, the corneal endothelial cells would lose their functions. To date, still many novel methods are explored continuously. Cell behavior is decided by constitutional programs and complex interactions among cells, signals, and matrix. Although the behaviors of corneal endothelial cells (CECs) have been well-explored, its interaction with the different biodegradable biomaterials has never been systematically investigated. Towards this aim, blended membrane made from various proportion of biodegradable biomaterials with dissimilar characteristics will be examined in the CEC culture systems to elucidate their possible impact on clinical demand and scientific interest. The interaction between cell and matrix will also be surveyed. Furthermore, cells always exist with other types of cells and matrix components in an intimate structural and a functional interaction in tissue and organ biologically. The origin of corneal endothelial cells and corneal keratocytes are both from proliferation and migration of the neural crest-derived mesenchymal cells. They reside in close microenvironment in vivo. For this reason, the interaction of proliferation and differentiation between CECs and keratocytes on appropriate biomaterials is worthy investigated. After reviewing literatures, we found researching into the behaviors of corneal endothelium on biodegradable polymer membranes had not been investigated well. In this study, we will first cultivate CECs on different biodegradable blends. Further efforts to be made are to define the cell-surface interaction among them from investigation of morphology and function. Second, we will use designed biomaterials to cultivate CECs and corneal keratocytes together to mimicking microenvironment and observe the behaviors including proliferation and differentiation among them. The solution to pave an important way to provide a more preferential environment for CEC cultures is attempted to find. Accordingly, promoting CEC growth effects after cell-biomaterial association may be applied to tissue engineering of corneal endothelium. Finally, we hope to make clinical application feasible in the future.
Effective start/end date8/1/117/31/12


  • corneal endothelial cells (CECs)
  • biomaterials
  • corneal transplantation
  • blends
  • chitosan
  • polycaprolactone


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