Article Text

other Versions

Optimisation of polymer scaffolds for retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell transplantation
  1. Heather A J Thomson1,
  2. Andrew J Treharne2,
  3. Paul Walker2,
  4. Martin C Grossel2,
  5. Andrew J Lotery1,3
  1. 1Clinical Neurosciences Division, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  2. 2School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  3. 3Southampton Eye Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Andrew Lotery, Clinical Neurosciences Division, Mailpoint 806, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK; 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 and 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 (134 μm) scaffold produced. ARPE-19 cells retained an appropriate phenotype with minimal cell death for up to 4 weeks in vitro. Cell density was maintained on only one of the fabricated ratios (25% PLLA:75% PLGA). A consistent decrease in apoptotic cell death with time was observed on 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.

  • Poly(α-hydroxy esters)
  • polymer
  • biodegrabable
  • scaffold
  • retinal pigment epithelium
  • retina, treatment other
  • experimental and laboratory

Statistics from


  • Funding Financial support was provided by Foresight RP, the Gift of Sight Appeal, Lord Sandberg, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles