Design, development and in vitro evaluation of synthetic scaffolds for retinal tissue engineering.

Denver C Surrao, Stuart Skabo, Yu-Qian Chau, Jason Ionnis Limnios, Kinnari J. Shelat, Qin Liu

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the developed world[1],[2] and manifests as either dry or wet AMD[1],[2]. In dry AMD, the retinal pigmented epithelium cells (RPEs) and Bruch’s membrane (BM) are damaged, leading to photoreceptor dysfunction and death, and subsequent vision reduction and/or complete loss[2],[3]. Aim: The aim of this project was to develop a biomimetic scaffold for the treatment of dry AMD. Here, we focused on developing electrospun polymeric scaffolds, namely: poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), poly(D,L-lactide-co-L-lactide) (PDLLA) and poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) that mimicked the microenvironment of native BM. Additionally, we investigated the in vitro efficacy of these scaffolds to support the proliferation and functionality of human fetal RPE cells (hfRPEs). Materials and Methods: Electrospun membranes were fabricated from the above-mentioned polymers via electrospinning, as described previously[2],[4]. SEM was used to determine fibre diameter, scaffold thickness, and porosity of electrospun membranes. Surface roughness and surface stiffness were measured using AFM at 1 µm/s and a 5 nN load. In in vitro studies, hfRPEs were seeded (10,000/cm2) on electrospun membranes, which were then assessed at various time points via transepithelial electrical resistance (TER), SEM, q-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Results and Discussion: Electrospun polymeric scaffolds with average fibre diameters of 70 nm, the first of its kind, and thicknesses < 1 μm, coupled with porosities > 40%, were fabricated via electrospinning, thereby mimicking the inner collagenous layer of native BM (thickness 1.4 μm and collagen fibre diameter 60-70 nm)[5] (Fig 1).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
EventThe 10th World Biomaterials Congress - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 17 May 201622 May 2016
Conference number: 10th


ConferenceThe 10th World Biomaterials Congress
Abbreviated titleWBC 2016
Internet address


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