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J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6(3), 863-888; doi:10.3390/jfb6030863

Pre-Clinical Cell-Based Therapy for Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency

Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Sognsvannsveien 10, Oslo 0372, Norway
Department of Ophthalmology, Oslo University Hospital, Kirkeveien 166, Oslo 0407, Norway
Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Kirkeveien 166, Oslo 0407, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dimitrios Karamichos
Received: 20 July 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 28 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocular Tissue Engineering)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [554 KB, uploaded 28 August 2015]   |  


The cornea is essential for normal vision by maintaining transparency for light transmission. Limbal stem cells, which reside in the corneal periphery, contribute to the homeostasis of the corneal epithelium. Any damage or disease affecting the function of these cells may result in limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). The condition may result in both severe pain and blindness. Transplantation of ex vivo cultured cells onto the cornea is most often an effective therapeutic strategy for LSCD. The use of ex vivo cultured limbal epithelial cells (LEC), oral mucosal epithelial cells, and conjunctival epithelial cells to treat LSCD has been explored in humans. The present review focuses on the current state of knowledge of the many other cell-based therapies of LSCD that have so far exclusively been explored in animal models as there is currently no consensus on the best cell type for treating LSCD. Major findings of all these studies with special emphasis on substrates for culture and transplantation are systematically presented and discussed. Among the many potential cell types that still have not been used clinically, we conclude that two easily accessible autologous sources, epidermal stem cells and hair follicle-derived stem cells, are particularly strong candidates for future clinical trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomaterials; cornea; ex vivo cultivation; limbal stem cell deficiency; ocular surface disease; transplantation biomaterials; cornea; ex vivo cultivation; limbal stem cell deficiency; ocular surface disease; transplantation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sehic, A.; Utheim, Ø.A.; Ommundsen, K.; Utheim, T.P. Pre-Clinical Cell-Based Therapy for Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency. J. Funct. Biomater. 2015, 6, 863-888.

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