Collagen-immobilized poly(vinyl alcohol) as an artificial cornea scaffold that supports a stratified corneal epithelium

Hideyuki Miyashita, Shigeto Shimmura, Hisatoshi Kobayashi, Tetsushi Taguchi, Naoko Asano-Kato, Yuichi Uchino, Masabumi Kato, Jun Shimazaki, Junzo Tanaka, Kazuo Tsubota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


The cornea is a transparent tissue of the eye, which is responsible for the refraction of incoming light. Both biological corneal equivalents and synthetic keratoprostheses have been developed to replace donor tissue as a means to restore vision. However, both designs have drawbacks in terms of stability and biocompatibility. Clinically available synthetic devices do not support an intact epithelium, which poses a risk of microbial infection or protrusion of the prosthesis. In the present study, type I collagen was immobilized onto poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA-COL) as a possible artificial cornea scaffold that can sustain a functional corneal epithelium. Human and rabbit corneal epithelial cells were air-lift cultured with 3T3 feeder fibroblasts to form a stratified epithelial layer on PVA-COL. The epithelial sheet expressed keratin 3/12 differentiation markers, the tight junction protein occludin, and had characteristic microvilli structures on transmission electron microscopy. Functionally, the stratified epithelium contained normal glycogen levels, and an apical tight-junction network was observed to exclude the diffusion of horseradish peroxidase. Furthermore, the epithelium-PVA-COL composite was suturable in the rabbit cornea, suggesting the possibility of using PVA-COL as a biocompatible material for keratoprosthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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