The cornea is a transparent tissue of the eye, which is responsible for the refraction of incoming light. Both biological corneal equivalents and synthetic keratoprostheses have been developed to replace donor tissue as a means to restore vision. However, both designs have drawbacks in terms of stability and biocompatibility. Clinically available synthetic devices do not support an intact epithelium, which poses a risk of microbial infection or protrusion of the prosthesis. In the present study, type I collagen was immobilized onto poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA-COL) as a possible artificial cornea scaffold that can sustain a functional corneal epithelium. Human and rabbit corneal epithelial cells were air-lift cultured with 3T3 feeder fibroblasts to form a stratified epithelial layer on PVA-COL. The epithelial sheet expressed keratin 3/12 differentiation markers, the tight junction protein occludin, and had characteristic microvilli structures on transmission electron microscopy. Functionally, the stratified epithelium contained normal glycogen levels, and an apical tight-junction network was observed to exclude the diffusion of horseradish peroxidase. Furthermore, the epithelium-PVA-COL composite was suturable in the rabbit cornea, suggesting the possibility of using PVA-COL as a biocompatible material for keratoprosthesis.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials|
|Publication status||Published - 2006 Jan|
- Poly(vinyl alcohol)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering