Porous poly(butylene succinate) films as promising candidates for retinal tissue engineering
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In the developed world, degenerative retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading cause of senior citizens’ vision loss. AMD is caused by the degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), hence RPE transplantation is considered the most promising solution for reversing the degeneration and vision loss. The purpose of this study was to develop biodegradable scaffolds that have similar properties as the natural Bruch’s membrane (BM) and to study the cell adhesion on them. Particulate leaching (PL) and breath figure (BF) method were used to prepare porous films from poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu). These films were characterized by their thickness, surface porosity and pore size, hydrophilicity, roughness, diffusion properties as well as their degradation behaviour. Films with honeycomb (HC) structured surface were able to be prepared with the BF method by using 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) as a surfactant. These films were also found to be much more hydrophilic than any of the other films created without surfactant. Films prepared by the PL method with sucrose particles also showed a slightly higher hydrophilicity than the control films without sucrose or surfactant, but the pores on these films were not as organized and evident as on the honeycomb films created with the BF method. In this work, human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (hESC-RPE) cell adhesion to porous PBSu films is studied for the first time. Cell culture studies using hESC-RPE cells showed good cell adhesion and protein secretion on the collagen IV and laminin dip-coated films, while there were barely any cells adhered to the uncoated films. The cells expressed elongated fibroblast like shape on films prepared by the PL method, while the HC structured films prepared by the BF method and commercial polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films used as controls, helped cells to maintain a more rounded shape, typical to RPE cells. This study demonstrates the potential of porous PBSu scaffolds as prosthetic BMs for tissue engineering of hESC-RPE.