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3D-printed membrane as an alternative to amniotic membrane for ocular surface/conjunctival defect reconstruction: an in vitro and in vivo study

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Session Details

Session Title: Presented Poster Session: Infections & Syndromes

Venue: Poster Village: Pod 3

First Author: : S.Dehghani IRAN

Co Author(s): :    M. Rasoulianboroujeni   H. Ghassemi   L. Tayebi   R. Ghaffari   M. Zarei-Ghanavat   M. Hashemian        

Abstract Details


The aim of this study was to evaluate the surgical handling and clinical applicability of a specific 3D-printed membrane design fabricated using a gelatin, elastin and sodium hyaluronate blend for conjunctival reconstruction and compare it with amniotic membrane (AM), which is normally used in such surgeries.


1-Eye Research Center, Farabi Eye Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran 2-Marquette University School of Dentistry, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA 3-Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK


3D-printing-technique was employed to fabricate the membrane.Printed membranes were fully characterized in terms of physical and mechanical properties. In-vitro viability and adhesion of human limbal epithelial cells were assessed using MTT assay and scanning electron microscopy (SEM),respectively.Surgical-handling was evaluated.In-vivo evaluation was conducted through implanting membranes andAM on induced conjunctival defects in rabbits(n=8). Epithelialization,inflammation severity and scar-tissue formation,were recorded from day1 through day28.Histological examination was performed on enucleated eyes on day28.In addition to H&E-staining,specific stains including PeriodicAcid Schiff-staining,Masson'sTrichrome-staining and immuno-histochemical-staining for α-SMA were further used to assess goblet-cell proliferation,healed sub-epithelial stroma and scar-tissue formation and the presence of myofibroblasts,respectively.


A blend of 8% w/v gelatin,2% w/v elastin and 0.5% w/v sodium hyaluronate was printed showing favorable optical characteristics and significantly easier surgical handling compared to AM.Epithelial cells cultivated on gelatin, indicated suitable cell viability,prolifration and adhesion. Clinical observations suggested similar epithelialization time (3 weeks).Histological examination showed similar qualities in epithelial cell morphology and layers. However,goblet cells densityper100cellswas twice more in gelatin group.Remnant degraded implant was seen in 3 of gelatin and 7 of AM grafted eyes. Inflammation, granulomatous reaction and α-SMA staining was higher in sections containing AM (p < 0.01, p = 0.01,and p = 0.25 respectively).


The designed gelatin-based membrane offers the necessary physical and mechanical characteristics needed for successful ocular surface/conjunctival defect construction and may be considered a promising alternative to AM due to a more predictable degradation pattern, higher goblet cell density on the healed epithelium, less inflammation and reduced scar tissue formation.

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