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Development of functional human oral mucosal epithelial stem/progenitor cell sheets using a feeder-free and serum-free culture system for ocular surface reconstruction

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  • Takahiro Nakamura
  • Seiichi Yokoo
  • Adams J. Bentley
  • Maho Nagata
  • Nigel J. Fullwood
  • Tsutomu Inatomi
  • Chie Sotozono
  • Satoru Yamagami
  • Shigeru Kinoshita
Article number37173
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/11/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages11
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Ocular surface reconstruction (OSR) using tissue-engineered cultivated oral mucosal epithelial cell sheets (COMECS) is a promising newly developed treatment for patients with severe ocular surface disease. Until now, this technique has used exogenic and undefined components such as mouse-derived 3T3 feeder cells and fetal bovine serum. To minimize associated risks of zoonotic infection or transmission of unknown pathogens and so establish a safe and effective protocol for the next generation of treatment modality, we developed a novel technique for the COMECS protocol, using a feeder-free and serum-free (FFSF) culture system. Following this new protocol, COMECS exhibited 4-5 layers of well-stratified and differentiated cells, and we successfully produced functional COMECS that included holoclone-type stem cells. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of markers for cell junction (ZO1, Desmoplakin), basement membrane assembly (Collagen 7, Laminin 5), differentiation (K13, K3), proliferation (Ki67) and stem/progenitor cells (p75) in the FFSF COMECS. When transplanted to the ocular surfaces of rabbits, the tissue survived for up to 2 weeks. This study represents a first step toward assessing the development of functional FFSF COMECS for safe and ideal OSR.