Aims: To assess the potential of electrospun poly(lactide-co-glycolide) membranes to provide a biodegradable cell carrier system for limbal epithelial cells.
Material & methods: 50:50 poly(lactide-co-glycolide) scaffolds were spun, sterilized and seeded with primary rabbit limbal epithelial cells. Cells were cultured on the scaffolds for 2 weeks and then examined by confocal microscopy, cryosectioning and scanning-electron microscopy. The tensile strength of scaffolds before and after annealing and sterilization was also studied.
Results: The limbal cells had formed a continuous multilayer of cells on either side of the scaffold. Scaffolds with cells showed signs of the onset of degradation within 2 weeks in culture media at 37 degrees C. Scaffolds that were annealed resulted in a more brittle and stiff mat.
Conclusions: We suggest this carrier membrane could be used as a replacement for the human amniotic membrane in the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency, lowering the risk of disease transmission to the patient.