Use of human serum for human corneal endothelial cell culture

Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 Feb;99(2):267-71. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-306034. Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Background/aims: To study human corneal endothelial cells (HCECs) cultured in vitro with human serum (HS) supplemented media (HS-SM) compared with HCEC cultured in fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplemented media (FBS-SM).

Methods: One cornea from a donor aged 21 years and a pair of corneas from a 16 year-old donor were obtained from the eye bank and used to create two different cell populations. At the first passage, the cell populations were equally divided and seeded in two different wells containing FBS-SM or HS-SM. In subsequent passages, HS-SM was compared with FBS-SM by morphology, growth curves, immunohistochemistry and real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR for endothelial cell markers.

Results: No difference in morphology could be seen in P2, P5 or in any other passages for cells grown in the two media. By growth curves, cell counts were similar in FBS-SM and HS-SM from days 1 to 5, with a trend towards higher cell counts in HS-SM at day 7. Cells grown in FBS-SM and HS-SM media showed similar expression of endothelial cell markers when assessed by immunohistochemistry and real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR.

Conclusions: HS-SM was similar to FBS-SM for HCEC culture when assessed by cell morphology, proliferation and protein/gene expression.

Keywords: Cornea; Experimental – laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Endothelium, Corneal / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Corneal / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Serum*
  • Tissue Donors
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Culture Media