Corneal regeneration: A review of stromal replacements
Corneal blindness is traditionally treated by transplantation of a donor cornea, or in severe cases by implantation of an artificial cornea or keratoprosthesis. Due to severe donor shortages and the risks of complications that come with artificial corneas, tissue engineering in ophthalmology has become more focused on regenerative strategies using biocompatible materials either with or without cells. The stroma makes up the bulk of the corneal thickness and mainly consists of a tightly interwoven network of collagen type I, making it notoriously difficult to recreate in a laboratory setting. Despite the challenges that come with corneal stromal tissue engineering, there has recently been enormous progress in this field. A large number of research groups are working towards developing the ideal biomimetic, cytocompatible and transplantable stromal replacement. Here we provide an overview of the approaches directed towards tissue engineering the corneal stroma, from classical collagen gels, films and sponges to less traditional components such as silk, fish scales, gelatin and polymers. The perfect stromal replacement has yet to be identified and future research should be directed at combined approaches, in order to not only host native stromal cells but also restore functionality. Statement of Significance In the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in ophthalmology the focus has shifted towards a common goal: to restore the corneal stroma and thereby provide a new treatment option for patients who are currently blind due to corneal opacification. Currently the waiting lists for corneal transplantation include more than 10 million patients, due to severe donor shortages. Alternatives to the transplantation of a donor cornea include the use of artificial cornea, but these are by no means biomimetic and therefore do not provide good outcomes. In recent years a lot of work has gone into the development of tissue engineered scaffolds and other biomaterials suitable to replace the native stromal tissue. Looking at all the different approaches separately is a daunting task and up until now there was no review article in which every approach is discussed. This review does include all approaches, from classical tissue engineering with collagen to the use of various alternative biomaterials and even fish scales. Therefore, this review can serve as a reference work for those starting in the field and but also to stimulate collaborative efforts in the future. (C) 2018 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Source (journal)
Acta biomaterialia. - Place of publication unknown
Oxford : Elsevier sci ltd , 2018
69 (2018) , p. 31-41
Pubmed ID
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Research group
Project info
Development of a biomimetic cornea combining additive manufacturing and stem cell technologies.
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 04.05.2018
Last edited 04.03.2024
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