Engineered cornea more resistant to chemical injury

May 28, 2012
Engineered cornea more resistant to chemical injury

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study from the University of Reading has established that a prosthetic cornea made from human cells is the best model for testing how irritants and toxins cause eye injuries.

The engineered cornea so closely resembles a natural cornea that it is a more reliable method of assessing damage caused by chemicals to the surface of the eye. One of these, sodium lauryl sulphate, is very common in shampoos, hair conditioners and toothpaste and was used in the study.

Existing models do not consider the important influence that mechanical properties, such as stiffness, play in directing normal cell growth. The leading model uses a material many times stiffer than the natural cornea, and another popular test uses one that is less stiff. The Reading model uses a surface that mimics the stiffness of a human cornea.

engineering has improved dramatically over recent years as demand has grown. More than 48,000 cornea transplants have been recorded on the UK Transplant Registry since the Service began in 1983, and this is set to rise a with an . Currently corneal transplantation requires a continuous supply of health donor corneas.

An effective engineered replacement is essential if current levels of are to be maintained.

The scientific advancements recently made at Reading in corneal biology and biomaterials can now, for the first time, be combined to create an of the cornea applicable to both toxicity testing and transplantation.

Dr Che Connon, from Reading School of Pharmacy, uses compressed collagen gels to engineer the prosthetic cornea which result in a much smoother and stiffer surface on which to grow cells than normal collagen. This technique represents the ultimate in as it results in a biomaterial comprised wholly of human proteins.

"Most irritants cause a temporary stinging, such as when shampoo gets into your eye," said Dr Connon. "However, we need to make sure that transplants using engineered material are as robust as possible - people who have already experienced loss of vision through damage to their own cornea need the confidence to know that their transplant is up to the job.

"This latest study proves that our prosthetic cornea was more resistant to chemical irritation. Compressed collagen cells which more accurately mimic the corneal surface provide the most protection against toxic assault."

Previously Dr Connon and Professor Ian Hamley in the Department of Chemistry engineered a tissue suitable for cornea transplantation using human stem cells. The research team developed a prosthetic cornea comprised solely from and proteins, their growth and development having been directed by a synthetic polymer template which mimics the cornea's natural architecture

The paper, ‘Influence of substrate on corneal epithelial cell viability within ocular surface models', by Yun Feng, James Foster, Shengli Mi, Bo Chen, and Che John Connon, is published in Experimental Eye Research.

The research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Explore further: Two patients in Scotland get stem cell transplants to treat blindness

Related Stories

Two patients in Scotland get stem cell transplants to treat blindness

May 22, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Two people in Scotland have received stem cell transplants into their eyes in a clinical trial that is aimed at restoring vision in people that suffer some degree of blindness due to damage to the cornea. ...

Vitamin B-based treatment for corneal disease may offer some patients a permanent solution

October 24, 2011
Patients in the United States who have the cornea-damaging disease keratoconus may soon be able to benefit from a new treatment that is already proving effective in Europe and other parts of the world. The treatment, called ...

Stem cells can repair a damaged cornea

March 5, 2012
A new cornea may be the only way to prevent a patient going blind – but there is a shortage of donated corneas and the queue for transplantation is long. Scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, ...

Recommended for you

Coming soon: Glaucoma self-care, from home?

September 23, 2017
(HealthDay)—For many glaucoma patients, repeat trips to a doctor's office to check on their eyes can be a real pain.

Researchers identify potential biomarkers of age-related macular degeneration

September 12, 2017
Patients with any stage of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) carry signs of the disease in their blood that may be found through special laboratory tests, according to a new study led by AMD researchers based at Massachusetts ...

Researchers unlock regenerative potential of cells in the mouse retina

August 28, 2017
Cells within an injured mouse eye can be coaxed into regenerating neurons and those new neurons appear to integrate themselves into the eye's circuitry, new research shows. The findings potentially open the door to new treatments ...

Antioxidant supplement cost saving and effective for degenerative eye disease

August 24, 2017
A supplement that combines antioxidants with zinc and copper is a relatively inexpensive and effective means of halting the progression of a certain type of degenerative eye disease, concludes research published online in ...

Researchers identify key compounds to resolve abnormal vascular growth in AMD

August 21, 2017
A compound of specific bioactive products from a major family of enzymes reduced the severity of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a preclinical model, according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers. ...

World's blind population to soar: study

August 3, 2017
The world's blind will increase threefold from about 36 million today to 115 million in 2050 as populations expand and individuals grow ever older, researchers said Thursday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.