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Tissue engineering for conjunctival reconstruction

Schrader, S; (2012) Tissue engineering for conjunctival reconstruction. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Reconstruction of the conjunctiva is an essential part of ocular surface regeneration, especially if an extensive area or the whole ocular surface is affected, such as in patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, Stevens- Johnson syndrome or chemical/thermal burns. However, there is a lack of suitable donor tissue for conjunctival replacement, especially when large grafts are required and it is important that new materials and methods are developed for conjunctival reconstruction. The aims of this thesis were; to characterise the conjunctival epithelial cell population and to improve the maintenance of the epithelial progenitor cells during in vitro expansion in order to produce conjunctival epithelial cells suitable for therapeutic use. The final aim was to transfer these cells to compressed collagen matrices and amniotic membrane and test the properties of these cell-matrix constructs. Experiments showed that cryopreservation does not to alter the proliferative potential of conjunctival epithelial progenitor cells. It was also demonstrated that the maintenance of conjunctival epithelial progenitor cells during cell expansion can be improved by mimicking an environment in vitro, which is more similar to the stem cell niche in vivo and that this is accompanied by downregulation of key genes in the wnt signaling pathway. The final experimental series showed that after in vitro expansion, conjunctival epithelial cells can be successfully transferred and cultured on amniotic membrane and compressed collagen gels. In conclusion these studies highlighted the complexity of tissue engineering ocular surface substitutes and provided further clues for the goal to obtain a stable conjunctival substitute, suitable for transplantation.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Tissue engineering for conjunctival reconstruction
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology

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