Effects of peptide ratios in nanofibre-based hydrogels for the prevention of capsular opacification

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To moderate the capsular opacification (CO) response after lens surgery, an experimental study was performed in which nanofibre-based hydrogels (nanogels) with different ratios of attached peptides were applied to provide extracellular matrix-related cues for lens epithelial cells (LECs) in a porcine eye model.


The lens content was removed, and the capsules were refilled with nanogel. Lenses were divided into two groups, the first group (n= 34) was refilled with nanogels containing different ratios of two laminin-derived peptides (IKVAV + YIGSR), and the latter group (n= 26) was refilled with nanogel combinations of a fibronectin-derived and a type IV collagen-derived peptide (RGDS + DGEA). Two lenses were refilled with culture medium to investigate the effect of the medium on LECs. After refilling, lenses were extracted and cultured for 3 weeks. Lens epithelial cells (LECs) were assessed for morphology and alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) expression using confocal laser scanning microscopy.


Differences were seen in cell morphology between lenses refilled with nanogels with IKVAV + YIGSR and RGDS + DGEA peptides. In nanogels with IKVAV + YIGSR peptides, differences in LEC morphology were largest when ratios between the peptides were unequal, whereas LEC responses from the RGDS + DGEA refilled groups showed variation in LEC morphology dependent on the total quantity of mixed-in peptides. The culture medium did not induce proliferation or transformation of LECs.


Ratios and concentrations of cell adhesion-mediating peptides both can direct the LEC response, depending on the adhesion molecules of origin, by influencing LEC proliferation and transformation. Nanogels with incorporated peptides may be tuned towards CO prevention.

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