Three-Dimensional Culture of Functional Adult Rabbit Lacrimal Gland Epithelial Cells on Decellularized Scaffold

Tissue Eng Part A. 2016 Jan;22(1-2):65-74. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0286. Epub 2015 Nov 5.


Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye disease is a multifactorial chronic disorder, in which the lacrimal gland fails to produce enough tears to maintain a healthy ocular surface. Some severe cases may develop corneal damage and significant vision loss. Treatment primarily involves palliation using ocular surface lubricants, but can only provide temporary relief. Construction of a bioengineered lacrimal gland having functional secretory epithelial cells is a potentially promising option for providing long-term relief to severe dry eye patients. Using sphere-forming culture techniques, we cultured adult rabbit lacrimal gland progenitor cells and prepared a lacrimal gland scaffold by decellularization. When progenitor cells were seeded onto the decellularized scaffold, they formed duct- and acinar-like structures in the three-dimensional culture system. Lacrimal gland epithelial cells showed good cell viability, cell differentiation, and secretory function in decellularized lacrimal gland matrix, as indicated by morphology, immunostaining, and β-hexosaminidase secretion assay. This study demonstrated the potential suitability of utilizing tissue-specific progenitor cells and a tissue-derived bioscaffold for lacrimal gland restoration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / metabolism
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / therapy
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / cytology
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*