Characterization of the phenotype and functionality of corneal epithelial cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells

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Abstract

Aims:

To investigate the optimum conditions for the differentiation of a mouse embryonic stem cell line towards corneal epithelial cell fate.

Materials & methods:

The effect of conditioned media from both metabolically active (to produce lineage A) and growth-arrested limbal fibroblasts (lineage G) were compared with basal media (lineage N) in terms of morphology and marker expression, assessed by immunocytochemistry and reverse transcription PCR. Cultures were transplanted into a porcine ex vivo model to investigate their ability for wound healing and cornea repair.

Results:

Lineage N exhibited cobblestone morphology and expressed CK12 and p63α, while OCT4 and SSEA1 were downregulated. Post-transplantation, these cells were able to multilayer and heal after wounding while maintaining marker expression.

Conclusion:

Lineages with corneal epithelial-like characteristics, which are derived from embryonic stem cells, have potential for use in the study of corneal wound healing and therapy.

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