To demonstrate that microcontact printing, a modern materials fabrication technique, can be used to engineer the surface of human tissue and to show that inhibitory molecules can be used to pattern the growth of retinal pigment epithelial cells or iris pigment epithelial cells on human lens capsule for transplantation.
Photolithographic techniques were used to fabricate photoresist-coated silicon substrates into molds. Poly(dimethylsiloxane)stamps for microcontact printing were made from these molds. The poly(dimethylsiloxane) stamps were then used to "wet-transfer" growth inhibitory molecules to the surface of prepared human lens capsules that were obtained during cataract surgery. Human retinal pigment epithelial and rabbit iris pigment epithelial cells were grown on a lens capsule substrate in the presence and absence of a patterned array of inhibitory factors.
We found that human lens capsule could be microprinted with a precision similar to that obtained on glass or synthetic polymers. Retinal pigment epithelial cells and iris pigment epithelial cells cultured onto an untreated lens capsule showed spreading and formed into fusiform-appearing cells. In contrast, cells cultured on a lens capsule with a hexagonal micropattern of growth inhibitory molecules retained an epithelioid form within the inhibitory hexagons.
Inhibitory growth molecules can be micropatterned onto human lens capsule, and these micropatterns can control the organization of retinal pigment epithelial cells or iris pigment epithelial cells cultured onto the lens capsule surface.
Microprinting on autologous human tissue may facilitate efforts to effectively organize cell cultures and transplantations for the replacement of vital ocular tissues such as the retinal pigment epithelium in age-related macular degeneration.