Establishment of a Robust and Simple Corneal Organ Culture Model to Monitor Wound Healing
The use of in vitro systems to investigate the process of corneal wound healing offers the opportunity to reduce animal pain inflicted during in vivo experimentation. This study aimed to establish an easy-to-handle ex vivo organ culture model with porcine corneas for the evaluation and modulation of epithelial wound healing. Cultured free-floating cornea disks with a punch defect were observed by stereomicroscopic photo documentation. We analysed the effects of different cell culture media and investigated the impact of different wound sizes as well as the role of the limbus. Modulation of the wound healing process was carried out with the cytostatic agent Mitomycin C. The wound area calculation revealed that after three days over 90% of the lesion was healed. As analysed with TUNEL and lactate dehydrogenase assay, the culture conditions were cell protecting and preserved the viability of the corneal tissue. Wound healing rates differ dependent on the culture medium used. Mitomycin C hampered wound healing in a concentration-dependent manner. The porcine cornea ex vivo culture ideally mimics the in vivo situation and allows investigations of cellular behaviour in the course of wound healing. The effect of substances can be studied, as we have documented for a mitosis inhibitor. This model might aid in toxicological studies as well as in the evaluation of drug efficacy and could offer a platform for therapeutic approaches based on regenerative medicine.