Corneal repair by human corneal keratocyte-reprogrammed iPSCs and amphiphatic carboxymethyl-hexanoyl chitosan hydrogel

Yueh Chien, Yi Wen Liao, Dean Mo Liu, Heng Liang Lin, Shih Jen Chen, Hen Li Chen, Chi Hsien Peng, Chang Min Liang, Chung Yuan Mou, Shih Hwa Chiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have promising potential in regenerative medicine, but whether iPSCs can promote corneal reconstruction remains undetermined. In this study, we successfully reprogrammed human corneal keratocytes into iPSCs. To prevent feeder cell contamination, these iPSCs were cultured onto a serum- and feeder-free system in which they remained stable through 30 passages and showed ESC-like pluripotent property. To investigate the availability of iPSCs as bioengineered substitutes in corneal repair, we developed a thermo-gelling injectable amphiphatic carboxymethyl-hexanoyl chitosan (CHC) nanoscale hydrogel and found that such gel increased the viability and CD44 + proportion of iPSCs, and maintained their stem-cell like gene expression, in the presence of culture media. Combined treatment of iPSC with CHC hydrogel (iPSC/CHC hydrogel) facilitated wound healing in surgical abrasion-injured corneas. In severe corneal damage induced by alkaline, iPSC/CHC hydrogel enhanced corneal reconstruction by downregulating oxidative stress and recruiting endogenous epithelial cells to restore corneal epithelial thickness. Therefore, we demonstrated that these human keratocyte-reprogrammed iPSCs, when combined with CHC hydrogel, can be used as a rapid delivery system to efficiently enhance corneal wound healing. In addition, iPSCs reprogrammed from corneal surgical residues may serve as an alternative cell source for personalized therapies for human corneal damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8003-8016
Number of pages14
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chitin/chitosan
  • Cornea
  • Hydrogel
  • Stem cell
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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