Tissue engineering is a method of constructing seeding cells and artificial materials as the cytoskeleton in vitro, in order to fabricating artificial organs and tissues. Reconstruction of corneal epithelial tissue in vitro by tissue engineering technique brought hope to the corneal blind patients. In this study, we used human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) as seeding cells, and cross-linked amniotic membrane by genipin as the cytoskeleton to reconstructing corneal epithelial tissue in vitro. In addition, we tested the tenacity, hardness, degradation speed, cytocompatibility and inflammatory response in preclinical application of this new artificial material, for the purpose of finding a new approach of modifying amniotic membrane close to the feature of natural cornea. As a result, the best cross-link condition-1.0% genipin cross-linked with amniotic membrane under 45°C for 24 hr could improve the physical character of natural amniotic membrane. Genipin cross-linking makes amniotic membrane and seeded hUC-MSCs has better cytocompatibility and lower inflammatory response in preclinical application.
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