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In vivo-like culture conditions in a bioreactor facilitate improved tissue quality in corneal storage

: Schmid, Richard; Tarau, Ioana-Sandra; Rossi, Angela; Leonhardt, Stefan; Schwarz, Thomas; Schürlein, Sebastian; Lotz, Christian; Hansmann, Jan

Volltext ()

Biotechnology journal 13 (2018), Nr.1, Art. 1700344, 7 S.
ISSN: 1860-6768
ISSN: 1860-7314
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IGB ()
bioreactor; corneal endothelium; corneal epithelium; corneal storage; tissue culture

The cornea is the most-transplanted tissue worldwide. However, the availability and quality of grafts are limited due to the current methods of corneal storage. In this study, a dynamic bioreactor system is employed to enable the control of intraocular pressure and the culture at the air-liquid interface. Thereby, in vivo-like storage conditions are achieved. Different media combinations for endothelium and epithelium are tested in standard and dynamic conditions to enhance the viability of the tissue. In contrast to culture conditions used in eye banks, the combination of the bioreactor and biochrom medium 1 allows to preserve the corneal endothelium and the epithelium. Assessment of transparency, swelling, and the trans-epithelial-electrical-resistance (TEER) strengthens the impact of the in vivo-like tissue culture. For example, compared to corneas stored under static conditions, significantly lower optical densities and significantly higher TEER values were measured (p-value <0.05). Furthermore, healing of epithelial defects is enabled in the bioreactor, characterized by re-epithelialization and initiated stromal regeneration. Based on the obtained results, an easy-to-use 3D-printed bioreactor composed of only two parts was derived to translate the technology from the laboratory to the eye banks. This optimized bioreactor facilitates noninvasive microscopic monitoring. The improved storage conditions ameliorate the quality of corneal grafts and the storage time in the eye banks to increase availability and reduce re-grafting.