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Vitrification and Storage of Oral Mucosa Epithelial Cell Sheets

Oliva, J;Florentino, A;Bardag-Gorce, F;Niihara, Y;

Shipping time and shipping delays might affect the quality of the stem cells based engineered “organs”. In our laboratory, we have developed a limbal stem cell deficient (LSCD) rabbit model. To reverse the LSCD, we cultured oral mucosal epithelial cells for 2-3 weeks and engineered cultured autologous oral mucosa epithelial cell sheets (CAOMECS), which were grafted on the LSCD cornea. The purpose of this study was to vitrify CAOMECS and to store it until the CAOMECS can be grafted onto patients. CAOMECS were vitrified in LN2 for up to 204 days. We tested two different methods of vitrification with different solutions; however, CAOMECS were only viable when they were not stored in a vitrification solution; results were only reported from this CAOMECS. Based on H&E staining, we showed that the CAOMECS morphology were well preserved after long term storage in LN2 . Most of the preservation solutions maintained the CAOMECS phenotype (Ki67, PCNA, Beta-Catenin, ZO-1, E-Cadherin, CK3, CK4, CK13). The exception was the solution composed with ethylene glycol and DMSO: this resulted in loss of DeltaN-p63 expression. DeltaN-p63 is an important marker for cell proliferation. The expression of proteins involved in cell-cell connection and the differentiation markers were maintained. Apoptosis was not detected in the thawed CAOMECS. We demonstrated that CAOMECS can be stored long-term in LN2 without affecting their morphology and phenotype. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.