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    The use of murine 3T3 feeder cells needs to be avoided when fabricating corneal epithelial cell sheets for use in treating ocular surface diseases. However, the expression level of the epithelial stem/progenitor cell marker, p63, is down-regulated in feeder-free culture systems. In this study, in order to fabricate corneal epithelial cell sheets that maintain colony-forming cells without using any feeder cells, we investigated the use of an oxygen-controlled method that was developed previously to fabricate cell sheets efficiently. Rabbit limbal epithelial cells were cultured under hypoxia (1-10% O2) and under normoxia during stratification after reaching confluence. Multilayered corneal epithelial cell sheets were fabricated using an oxygen-controlled method, and immunofluorescence analysis showed that cytokeratin 3 and p63 was expressed in appropriate localization in the cell sheets. The colony-forming efficiency of the cell sheets fabricated by the oxygen-controlled method without feeder cells was significantly higher than that of cell sheets fabricated under 20% O2 without feeder cells. These results indicate that the oxygen-controlled method has the potential to achieve a feeder-free culture system for fabricating corneal epithelial cell sheets for corneal regeneration. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Ryota Nakajima, Shizu Takeda. Fabrication of corneal epithelial cell sheets maintaining colony-forming cells without feeder cells by oxygen-controlled method. Experimental eye research. 2014 Jan;118:53-60

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    PMID: 24184720

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