CYTOTHERAPY, vol.21, no.1, pp.83-95, 2019 (SCI-Expanded)
Background: Several methods to cultivate limbal epithelial stem cells (LESCs) in vitro with the support of feeder layers and different growth medium formulations have been established for several years. The initial green medium consists of various ingredients that exhibit a non-optimal level of biosafety, therefore, different modifications have been made to suit it to safe clinical applications. However, the question of which formulation is the most appropriate remains to be answered. Aims: This study evaluated the outgrowth kinetics and stemness of cells cultured from human limbal explants with the aim of pre-serving LESC characteristics in the human-derived platelet-rich fibrin (HPRF)-conditioned medium with no feeder cell layer or carrier for the first time. The final composition of the cell culture system included only human-derived products without any xenobiotic or chemical substances to minimize the potential risk for human health, which will be useful for clinical purposes. Methods: To test our hypothesis, limbal explants were incubated with either Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM)/F12-10% human serum (HS), human-derived amniotic membrane (HAM)-conditioned DMEM/F1210% HS or HPRF-conditioned DMEM/F12-10% HS to determine whether outgrowth kinetics and stemness of cells show any differences among groups. Results: The results showed that the HPRF-conditioned medium showed higher concentration levels of growth factors, which may be involved in the promotion of LESC expansion while preserving the stem cell characteristics. HPRF-conditioned medium had significantly superior capacity to enhance the cell growth rate, the stem/progenitor cell phenotype and the expressions of putative stem cell markers. Conclusion: This novel xeno-feeder-chemicalfree, completely human-derived and biologically safe culture system including HPRF and HS would be of interest to replace conventional cell culture strategies to meet safety requirements mandatory for clinical use in humans.