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Ilham Putra, Xiang Shen, Khandaker N. Anwar, Behnam Rabiee, Ravand Samaeekia, Enmar Almazyad, Pushpanjali Giri, Sayena Jabbehdari, Mohammed R. Hayat, Abdelrahman M. Elhusseiny, Mahmood Ghassemi, Nadim Mahmud, Deepak P. Edward, Charlotte E. Joslin, Mark I. Rosenblatt, Reza Dana, Medi Eslani, Peiman Hematti, Ali R. Djalilian; Preclinical Evaluation of the Safety and Efficacy of Cryopreserved Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for Corneal Repair. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(10):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.10.3.
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Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to enhance tissue repair as a cell-based therapy. In preparation for a phase I clinical study, we evaluated the safety, dosing, and efficacy of bone marrow–derived MSCs after subconjunctival injection in preclinical animal models of mice, rats, and rabbits.
Human bone marrow–derived MSCs were expanded to passage 4 and cryopreserved. Viability of MSCs after thawing and injection through small-gauge needles was evaluated by vital dye staining. The in vivo safety of human and rabbit MSCs was studied by subconjunctivally injecting MSCs in rabbits with follow-up to 90 days. The potency of MSCs on accelerating wound healing was evaluated in vitro using a scratch assay and in vivo using 2-mm corneal epithelial debridement wounds in mice. Human MSCs were tracked after subconjunctival injection in rat and rabbit eyes.
The viability of MSCs after thawing and immediate injection through 27- and 30-gauge needles was 93.1% ± 2.1% and 94.9% ± 1.3%, respectively. Rabbit eyes demonstrated mild self-limiting conjunctival inflammation at the site of injection with human but not rabbit MSCs. In scratch assay, the mean wound healing area was 93.5% ± 12.1% in epithelial cells co-cultured with MSCs compared with 40.8% ± 23.1% in controls. At 24 hours after wounding, all MSC-injected murine eyes had 100% corneal wound closure compared with 79.9% ± 5.5% in controls. Human MSCs were detectable in the subconjunctival area and peripheral cornea at 14 days after injection.
Subconjunctival administration of MSCs is safe and effective in promoting corneal epithelial wound healing in animal models.
These results provide preclinical data to support a phase I clinical study.
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