Enhanced viability of corneal epithelial cells for efficient transport/storage using a structurally modified calcium alginate hydrogel.
ABSTRACT Therapeutic limbal epithelial stem cells could be managed more efficiently if clinically validated batches were transported for 'on-demand' use.
In this study, corneal epithelial cell viability in calcium alginate hydrogels was examined under cell culture, ambient and chilled conditions for up to 7 days.
Cell viability improved as gel internal pore size increased, and was further enhanced with modification of the gel from a mass to a thin disc. Ambient storage conditions were optimal for supporting cell viability in gel discs. Cell viability in gel discs was significantly enhanced with increases in pore size mediated by hydroxyethyl cellulose.
Our novel methodology of controlling alginate gel shape and pore size together provides a more practical and economical alternative to established corneal tissue/cell storage methods.