Epithelialization of hydrogels achieved by amine functionalization and co-culture with stromal cells.
The aim of this study was to develop a hydrogel which would be suitable for corneal cell re-epithelialization when used as a corneal implant. To achieve this, a series of hydrogels were functionalized with primary amines by post-polymerization reactions between amine compounds and glycidyl ether groups attached to the hydrogels. We report a strong correlation between the structure of the amine and the viability of stromal cells and epithelial cells cultured on these hydrogels. Subsequent co-culture of epithelial and stromal cells on the amine modified hydrogels allowed successful expansion of epithelial cells on surfaces functionalized with alkyl alpha-omega diamines with carbon chain lengths of between 3 and 6. Analysis of variance showed that corneal epithelial cells had a strong preference for surfaces functionalized by the reaction of excess 1,3 diaminopropane with units of glycidyl methacrylate compared to the reaction products of other amines (ammonia; 1,2-diaminoethane; 1,4-diaminobutane or 1,6-diaminohexane). We suggest this approach of amine functionalization combined with stromal/epithelial co-culture offers a promising new approach to achieving a secure corneal epithelium.
Rimmer, S; Johnson, C; Zhao, B; Collier, J; Gilmore, L; Sabnis, S; Wyman, P; Sammon, C; Fullwood, NJ; MacNeil, S
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