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Enhanced retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) regeneration using curcumin/alginate hydrogels: In vitro evaluation

Park, Jong Ho, Shin, Eun Yeong, Shin, Myeong Eun, Choi, Min Joung, Carlomagno, Cristiano, Song, Jeong Eun, Khang, Gilson
International journal of biological macromolecules 2018 v.117 pp. 546-552
alginates, biocompatibility, cell growth, collagen, curcumin, epithelium, genes, hydrogels, in vitro studies, retina, tissue engineering
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) plays a significant role in retaining structural integrity of eye. Factors such as reduction in cell regeneration due to aging and physical injury pose a major hurdle in RPE regeneration. In this study, we exploited the use of alginate (AGT) incorporated with Curcumin (CCI) forming a hydrogel based system CCI/AGT. The fabricated hydrogel could anchor RPE cell in it. In vitro cell analysis revealed that the CCI/AGT hydrogel shows good biocompatibility, enhanced cell growth ability and higher ECM formation compared to the pure AGT hydrogel. In particular, the presence of CCI in the hydrogels enhances the cells proliferation of the 23% respect to the pure alginate. Also the expression of crucial genes for retina functions and matrix production were positively affected by CCI presence, with an increment of 45% for RPE65, 32% for CRALBP and 26% for Collagen type 1. In vitro tests demonstrated the potential application of CCI/AGT hydrogels for transplantation under the sub-retinal space acting as a cell delivery vehicle and also their capability to provide an appropriate environment for RPE regeneration. These results suggest that CCI/AGT hydrogel could be translated into a potential surgical graft for biological implantation of retinal tissue engineering.