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Evaluation of corneal endothelial cell therapy using an in vitro human corneal model


We have established an in vitro human corneal decompensation model for the evaluation of a cell-therapy approach for treating corneal endothelial (CE) disorders.

We test the expression profile of positive regulatory domain proteins (PRDMs) as potential markers for corneal endothelial cells (CECs). Using human cadaveric corneas, we established a decompensation model for selective removal of the Descemet’s membrane (DM)/Endothelium complex from donor corneas.

The corneal thickness used as a surrogate measure of CE function was measured using OCT. We have revealed different expression between normal CE and cultured hCECs. Direct transplantation of cultured primary hCECs to bare posterior corneal stroma devoid of DM resulted in the formation of an endothelial monolayer and restoration of stromal hydration to physiological thickness, substantiating the role of cell therapy to treat corneal endothelial disorders.

The identification of PRDM proteins in the human corneal endothelium paves the way for future studies to understand their role in hCEC proliferation control.

Professor Madhavan Rajan
Dr Kostadin Dimov Rolev

Recent publications

Rolev, K., Coussons, P., King, L., Rajan, M., 2019. Experimental models of corneal endothelial cell therapy and translational challenges to clinical practice. Experimental Eye Research, 188, pp. 107794. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2019.107794

Rolev, K., OʼDonovan, D. G., Coussons, P., King, L., Rajan, M. S., 2018. Feasibility Study of Human Corneal Endothelial Cell Transplantation Using an In Vitro Human Corneal Model. Cornea, 37(6), pp. 778-784. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001555

Rolev, K., O'Donovan, D. G., Georgiou, C., Rajan, M. S., Chittka, A., 2017. Identification of Prdm genes in human corneal endothelium. Experimental Eye Research, 159, pp. 114-122. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2017.02.009