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Scientific reports

Effect of Transportation on Cultured Limbal Epithelial Sheets for Worldwide Treatment of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency.


PMID 30002380

Abstract

Limbal stem cell deficiency can be treated with transplantation of cultured human limbal epithelial cells (LEC). It can be advantageous to produce LEC in centralized labs and thereafter ship them to eye clinics. The present study used transport simulations of LEC to determine if vigorous shaking during transport altered the viability, morphology and phenotype during a 4 day-long storage of LEC with a previously described serum-free storage method. Inserts with LEC cultured on amniotic membranes were sutured to caps inside air-tight containers with generous amounts of 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid (HEPES)-buffered minimal essential medium (MEM). The containers were distributed among the following testing conditions: 6 hours with full containers, 36 hours with full containers, 36 hours with container three quarters full of medium, and 36 hours with container full of medium containing a shear-protecting agent (Pluronic-F68). Compared to stored, but non-transported controls, no statistically significant changes in viability and immunohistochemical staining were observed. The epithelial sheets remained intact. However, an air-liquid interface in the containers reduced the number of desmosomes and hemi-desmosomes compared to the controls. In conclusion, cultured LEC sheets appear to endure vigorous shaking for at least 36 hours if the container is full.