Bioengineered Membranes for Stem Cell Growth (LinkCell™)
LinkCell™ is a cell-free tissue-mimetic membrane for R&D applications including:
- as a substrate for enhanced growth and differentiation of stem cells
- as an alternative tissue to animal testing in the safety assessments for chemicals and drug formulations, cosmetics, personal care, and consumer products.
LinkCell™ has a finely designed microporous structure (Fig.A) that supports in vitro colonization by human corneal epithelial cells (Fig. B) and corneal stroma-derived mesenchymal stem cells (CS-MSC) (Fig.C). In a comprehensive study, corneal epithelial progenitor cells (p63 positive population) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) were cultured onto the membrane that showed superior cell growth compared to the commercially available collagen IV-coated petri dish as positive control (Fig. D-F). Limbal Stem Cells markers such as CK15 and p63, along with the proliferation marker Ki67 were highly expressed even after 30 days in culture. Overall, the cells retained their self-renewal and proliferative capacities, as well as terminally differentiated into human corneal epithelial cells upon stimulation, as evident from expression of proteins CK3 and CK12.
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