Retinal pigment epithelium engineering using synthetic biodegradable polymers

Biomaterials. 2001 Dec;22(24):3345-55. doi: 10.1016/s0142-9612(01)00172-7.


Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) plays a key role in the maintenance of the normal functions of the retina, especially photoreceptors. Alteration in RPE structure and function is implicated in a variety of ocular disorders. Tissue engineering strategies using synthetic biodegradable polymers as temporary substrates for RPE cell culture and subsequent transplantation may provide a promising new therapy. In this review article, the manufacture of thin biodegradable poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) films and their degradation behavior in vitro are discussed. RPE cell proliferation and differentiation on these PLGA films are reviewed. The fabrication of model substrates with desired chemical micropatterns in the micrometer scale is discussed and the effects of surface patterning on RPE morphology and function are assessed. Finally. the preparation of biodegradable micropatterns with adhesive PLGA and non-adhesive poly(ethylene glycol)/PLA domains to modulate RPE cell adhesion is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Division
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid
  • Materials Testing
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / cytology*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / transplantation*
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polymers
  • Retinal Diseases / surgery
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid