Amniotic membrane as a tissue engineering substrate

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Abstract

Amniotic membrane (AM) is commonly used for cell culture and transplantation onto the ocular surface. AM serves the dual purpose of culture substrate and scaffold thus reducing cell manipulation. Crucially AM is believed to promote the retention of stem cell phenotypes essential for the long term restoration of functional tissue. As potential cellular therapies for corneal regeneration are being developed many of them continue to use AM. Its widespread usage in ophthalmology and extensive list of wound healing attributes has made AM a popular choice. Amniotic membrane is being used as a carrier for innovative research into the transplantation of non-corneal cell types onto ocular surface burn models including mesenchymal stem cells and oral mucosal epithelium. A lack of standardisation in the preparation of amniotic membrane can cause considerable variation and some methods of preparation may reduce or enhance certain attributes. Various methods of processing including cross-linking, denuding and freeze drying have sought to enhance amniotic membrane for tissue engineering purposes with varied levels of success.

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