Epithelialization of hydrogels achieved by amine functionalization and co-culture with stromal cells
The aim of this study was to develop a hydrogel which would be suitable for corneal cell re-epithelialization when used as a corneal implant. To achieve this, a series of hydrogels were functionalized with primary amines by post-polymerization reactions between amine compounds and glycidyl ether groups attached to the hydrogels. We report a strong correlation between the structure of the amine and the viability of stromal cells and epithelial cells cultured on these hydrogels. Subsequent co-culture of epithelial and stromal cells on the amine modified hydrogels allowed successful expansion of epithelial cells on surfaces functionalized with alkyl α–ω diamines with carbon chain lengths of between 3 and 6. Analysis of variance showed that corneal epithelial cells had a strong preference for surfaces functionalized by the reaction of excess 1,3 diaminopropane with units of glycidyl methacrylate compared to the reaction products of other amines (ammonia; 1,2-diaminoethane; 1,4-diaminobutane or 1,6-diaminohexane). We suggest this approach of amine functionalization combined with stromal/epithelial co-culture offers a promising new approach to achieving a secure corneal epithelium.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 28, Issue 35, December 2007, Pages 5319–5331