Regeneration of corneal epithelium utilizing a collagen vitrigel membrane in rabbit models for corneal stromal wound and limbal stem cell deficiency

J. Jeremy Chae, Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, Freddy A. Espinoza, Daniel G. Mulreany, Shengyong Ng, Toshiaki Takezawa, Morgana M. Trexler, Oliver D. Schein, Roy S. Chuck, Jennifer H. Elisseeff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose This study was performed to evaluate the potential of a collagen-based membrane, collagen vitrigel (CV), for reconstructing corneal epithelium in the stromal wound and limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) models. Methods Three groups of rabbits were used in the stromal wound model: CV affixed using fibrin glue (CV + FG group, n = 9), fibrin glue only (FG group, n = 3) and an untreated control group (n = 3). In the LSCD model, one group received CV containing human limbal epithelial cells (CV + hLEC group, n = 2) and the other was an untreated control (n = 1). Gross observation, including fluorescent staining, pathological examination, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy, was used to evaluate the effect of CV on the corneal epithelium. Results In the stromal wound model, fluorescent staining showed that epithelial reconstruction occurred as rapidly in the CV + FG group as it did in the control group. The pathological examination proved that the CV supported a healthy corneal epithelium in the CV + FG group, whereas FG led to hypertrophy and inappropriate differentiation of corneal epithelium in the FG group. In the LSCD model, the corneas in the CV + hLEC group showed sustained tissue transparency with good epithelialization, low inflammatory response and reduced neovascularization. However, the control cornea was translucent and showed high amounts of inflammation and neovascularization. Conclusion We have demonstrated that CV supports corneal epithelial differentiation and prevents epithelial hypertrophy, in addition to serving as a scaffold for hLEC transplantation, without complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e57-e66
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • cell transplantation
  • collagen vitrigel
  • corneal epithelium
  • corneal wound
  • fibrin glue
  • limbal stem cell deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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