Electro-compacted collagen for corneal epithelial tissue engineering
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Bioengineered corneal substitutes offer a solution to the shortage of donor corneal tissue worldwide. As one of the major structural components of the cornea, collagen has shown great potential for tissue-engineered cornea substitutes. Herein, free-standing collagen membranes fabricated using electro-compaction were assessed in corneal bioengineering application by comparing them with nonelectro-compacted collagen (NECC). The well-organized and biomimetic fibril structure resulted in a significant improvement in mechanical properties. A 10-fold increase in tensile and compressive modulus was recorded when compared with NECC membranes. In addition to comparable transparency in the visible light range, the glucose permeability of the electro-compacted collagen (ECC) membrane is higher than that of the native human cornea. Human corneal epithelial cells adhere and proliferate well on the ECC membrane, with a large cell contact area observed. The as-described ECC has appropriate structural, topographic, mechanical, optical, glucose permeable, and cell support properties to provide a platform for a bioengineered cornea; including the outer corneal epithelium and potentially deeper corneal tissues.
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Australian Research Council