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Optimisation of polymer scaffolds for retinal pigment epithelium cell transplantation
  1. Heather Anne Jane Thomson,
  2. Andrew John Treharne,
  3. Paul Walker,
  4. Martin Christopher Grossel,
  5. Andrew John Lotery*
  1. 1 University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to: Andrew Lotery, Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Shirley, Southampton, SO16 6YD, United Kingdom; a.j.lotery{at}


Aim: To evaluate a variety of copolymers as suitable scaffolds to facilitate retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) transplantation.

Methods: Five blends of poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) with poly(D, L-lactic-glycolic acid) (PLGA) were manufactured by a solid-liquid phase separation technique. The blends were 10:90, 25:75, 50:50, 75:25, 90:10 (PLLA:PLGA). All blend ratios were validated by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Samples of polymer blends were coated with laminin. Coated and uncoated blends were seeded with a human RPE cell line. Cell attachment, viability and retention of phenotype were assessed.

Results: As the lactide unit content increased pore size generally became smaller. The 25:75 PLLA:PLGA blend was the most porous (44%) and thinnest (134μ) scaffold produced. ARPE-19 cells survived with minimal cell death and maintained their normal phenotype for up to four weeks.. Cell density was maintained with only one of the fabricated ratios (25% PLLA:75% PLGA). There was a consistent decrease in apoptotic cell death with time on laminin coated samples of this blend. A decrease in polymer thickness concomitant with an increase in porosity characteristic of degradation was observed with all polymer blends.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a 25:75 copolymer blend of PLLA:PLGA is a potentially useful scaffold for ocular cell transplantation.

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