Aims: To investigate the effects of conditioned media from mesenchymal stem cells (MSC CM) on the wound healing activities of corneal stromal fibroblasts.
Methods: Cell cycle analysis and early stage activation of apoptosis, chemotactic chambers, and fibroblast-populated type I collagen gels were used to assess corneal stromal fibroblast proliferation, migration, and contraction, respectively. Fibroblasts were obtained from human donor corneas and MSCs from fresh rat bone marrow. MSC CM and fibroblast culture medium (FCM), with and without calf serum supplementation, were compared.
Results: MSC CM and serum-free FCM had an inhibitory effect on the progression of corneal fibroblasts through the cell cycle. There was a significant increase in the number of cells in the G0-G1 phase for MSC CM and serum-free FCM (p = 0.001, p=0.97 respectively). Fibroblast migration and relaxed and stressed gel contraction were significantly inhibited by MSC CM and serum-free FCM compared to FCM with serum (all p=0.001). Glucose and lactate analysis confirmed that these factors were not contributing to this effect.
Conclusion: MSC CM was found to inhibit the wound healing activities of corneal stromal fibroblasts in vitro. Putative factors secreted by MSCs could be developed for therapeutic use in corneal repair.