• Combination of Microstereolithography and Electrospinning to Produce Membranes Equipped with Niches for Corneal Regeneration

      Ortega, Í.; Sefat, Farshid; Deshpande, P.; Paterson, T.; Ramachandran, C.; Ryan, A.J.; MacNeil, S.; Claeyssens, F. (2014)
      We report a technique for the fabrication of micropockets within electrospun membranes in which to study cell behavior. Specifically, we describe a combination of microstereolithography and electrospinning for the production of PLGA (Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)) corneal biomaterial devices equipped with microfeatures.
    • Development of a Basement Membrane Substitute Incorporated Into an Electrospun Scaffold for 3D Skin Tissue Engineering

      Bye, F.J.; Bullock, A.J.; Singh, R.; Sefat, Farshid; Roman, S.; MacNeil, S. (2014)
      A major challenge in the production of 3D tissue engineered skin is the recreation of the basement membrane region to promote secure attachment and yet segregation of keratinocytes from the dermal substitute impregnated with fibroblasts. We have previously shown that simple electrospun scaffolds provide fibres on which the cells attach, proliferate, and self-sort into epithelium and dermis. In a development of this in this study tri-layered scaffolds were then electrospun from poly L-lactic acid and poly hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate. In these a central layer of the scaffolds comprising nano-porous/nano-fibrous poly hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate fibres was interwoven into the bulk micro-porous poly L-lactic acid microfibers to mimic the basement membrane. Keratinocytes and fibroblasts seeded onto these scaffolds and cultured for 2 weeks showed that neither cell type was able to cross the central nano-porous barrier (shown by SEM, and fluorescence monitoring with CellTracker™) while the micro-fibrous poly L-lactic acid provided a scaffold on which keratinocytes could create an epithelium and fibroblasts could create a dermal substitute depositing collagen. Although cells did not penetrate this barrier the interaction of cells was still evident-essential for epithelial development.
    • An “off-the shelf” Synthetic Membrane to Simplify Regeneration of Damaged Corneas

      Sefat, Farshid; Ortega, Í.; McKean, R.; Deshpande, P.; Ramachandran, C.; Hill, C.J.; Tzokov, S.B.; Claeyssens, F.; Sangwan, V.S.; Ryan, A.J.; et al. (2014)
      Our overall aim is to develop a synthetic off-the-shelf alternative to human amniotic membrane which is currently used for delivering cultured limbal stem cells to the cornea in patients who suffer scarring of the cornea because of the loss of limbal stem cells. We have recently reported that both cultured cells and limbal explants grow well on electrospun Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) (44 kg/mol) with a 50:50 ratio of lactide and glycolide and sterilized with γ-irradiation. Prior to undertaking a clinical study our immediate aim now is to achieve long term storage of the membranes in convenient to use packaging. Membranes were electrospun from Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (44 kg/mol) with a 50:50 ratio of lactide and glycolide and sterilized with γ-irradiation and then stored dry (with desiccant) for several months at -80°C and -20°C , Room temperature (UK and India), 37°C and 50°C. We explored the contribution of vacuum sealing and the use of a medical grade bag (PET/Foil/LDPE) to achieve a longer shelf life. Confirmation of membranes being suitable for clinical use was obtained by culturing tissue explants on membranes post storage. When scaffolds were stored dry the rate of breakdown was both temperature and time dependent. At -20°C and -80°C there was no change in fiber diameter over 18 months of storage, and membranes were stable for 12 months at 4°C while at 50°C (above the transition temperature for PLGA) scaffolds lost integrity after several weeks. The use of vacuum packaging and a medical grade bag both improved the storage shelf-life of the scaffolds. The impact of temperature on storage is summarized beneath. We report that this synthetic membrane can be used as an off-the-shelf or-out-of-the freezer alternative to the amniotic membrane for corneal regeneration.
    • Rocking Media Over Ex Vivo Corneas Improves This Model and Allows the Study of the Effect of Proinflammatory Cytokines on Wound Healing

      Deshpande, P.; Ortega, Í.; Sefat, Farshid; Sangwan, V.S.; Green, N.H.; Claeyssens, F.; MacNeil, S. (2015)
      Purpose.: The aim of this work was to develop an in vitro cornea model to study the effect of proinflammatory cytokines on wound healing. Methods.: Initial studies investigated how to maintain the ex vivo models for up to 4 weeks without loss of epithelium. To study the effect of cytokines, corneas were cultured with the interleukins IL-17A, IL-22, or a combination of IL-17A and IL-22, or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The effect of IL-17A on wound healing was then examined. Results.: With static culture conditions, organ cultures deteriorated within 2 weeks. With gentle rocking of media over the corneas and carbon dioxide perfusion, the ex vivo models survived for up to 4 weeks without loss of epithelium. The cytokine that caused the most damage to the cornea was IL-17A. Under static conditions, wound healing of the central corneal epithelium occurred within 9 days, but only a single-layered epithelium formed whether the cornea was exposed to IL-17A or not. With rocking of media gently over the corneas, a multilayered epithelium was achieved 9 days after wounding. In the presence of IL-17A, however, there was no wound healing evident. Characterization of the cells showed that wherever epithelium was present, both differentiated cells and highly proliferative cells were present. Conclusions.: We propose that introducing rocking to extend the effective working life of this model and the introduction of IL-17A to this model to induce aspects of inflammation extend its usefulness to study the effects of agents that influence corneal regeneration under normal and inflamed conditions.