• Gamma-irradiated human amniotic membrane decellularised with sodium dodecyl sulfate is a more efficient substrate for the ex vivo expansion of limbal stem cells

      Figueiredo, G.S.; Bojic, S.; Rooney, P.; Wilshaw, Stacy-Paul; Connon, C.J.; Gouveia, R.M.; Paterson, C.; Lepert, G.; Mudhar, H.S.; Figueiredo, F.C.; et al. (2017)
      The gold standard substrate for the ex vivo expansion of human limbal stem cells (LSCs) remains the human amniotic membrane (HAM) but this is not a defined substrate and is subject to biological variabil-ity and the potential to transmit disease. To better define HAM and mitigate the risk of disease transmis-sion, we sought to determine if decellularisation and/or c-irradiation have an adverse effect on culture growth and LSC phenotype. Ex vivo limbal explant cultures were set up on fresh HAM, HAM decellularised with 0.5 M NaOH, and 0.5% (w/v) sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) with or without c-irradiation. Explant growth rate was measured and LSC phenotype was characterised by histology, immunostaining and qRT-PCR (ABCG2, DNp63, Ki67, CK12, and CK13). Ƴ-irradiation marginally stiffened HAM, as measured by Brillouin spectromicroscopy. HAM stiffness and c-irradiation did not significantly affect the LSC phe-notype, however LSCs expanded significantly faster on Ƴ-irradiated SDS decellularised HAM (p < 0.05) which was also corroborated by the highest expression of Ki67 and putative LSC marker, ABCG2. Colony forming efficiency assays showed a greater yield and proportion of holoclones in cells cultured on Ƴ-irradiated SDS decellularised HAM. Together our data indicate that SDS decellularised HAM may be a more efficacious substrate for the expansion of LSCs and the use of a c-irradiated HAM allows the user to start the manufacturing process with a sterile substrate, potentially making it safer.