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In vitro establishment, validation and characterisation of conjunctival epithelium outgrowth using tissue fragments and amniotic membrane
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  • Published on:
    Goblet cells - sine qua non for conjunctival rehabilitation
    • Sara I. Van Acker, PhD student Antwerp Research Group for Ocular Science (ARGOS), Translational Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp
    • Other Contributors:
      • Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill, Consultant corneal and cataract Surgeon

    To the editor,

    We read with interest the recent publication by Bertolin et al. (“In vitro establishment, validation and characterisation of conjunctival epithelium outgrowth using tissue fragments and amniotic membrane”). Their validated conjunctival analogue of the simple limbal epithelial transplantation does represent a promising advance in the field. It is, however, interesting to note that the established tissue application was mainly validated on its growth potential and not specifically on its ability to reinstate a healthy ocular mucosal surface.

    Functional validation is of utmost importance, especially as the glued fragments are directly transplanted. This approach circumvents the need for expensive cell culture but also bypasses the stringent release criteria for cell therapies or tissue-engineered transplantation products. We would suggest that before this technique can be considered fully validated, it should be demonstrated that the obtained conjunctival cells contribute to the first line of mucosal defence, i.e. barrier formation. Several conjunctival barriers can be identified, such as intercellular junction complexes, glycocalyx and secreted mucins. Bertolin et al. demonstrated the presence of tight junctions (cfr. ZO-1 protein) and a glycocalyx (cfr. membrane-associated mucin-1), but failed to address the presence of goblet cells. As goblet cells are responsible for the secretion of mucin 5AC, which is the most abundant mucin in the mucin la...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.