Recombinant human collagen for tissue engineered corneal substitutes

Wenguang Liu, Kimberley Merrett, May Griffith, Per Fagerholm, Subhadra Dravida, Belinda Heyne, Juan C. Scaiano, Mitchell A. Watsky, Naoshi Shinozaki, Neil Lagali, Rejean Munger, Fengfu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


We successfully fabricated transparent, robust hydrogels as corneal substitutes from concentrated recombinant human type I and type III collagen solutions crosslinked with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl aminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS). White light transmission through these gels is comparable or superior to that of human corneas. Hydrogels from both type I and type III collagens supported in vitro epithelium and nerve over-growth. While both these biocompatible hydrogels have adequate tensile strength and elasticity for surgical manipulation, type III collagen hydrogels tended to be mechanically superior. Twelve-month post-implantation results of type I recombinant collagen-based corneal substitutes into mini-pigs showed retention of optical clarity, along with regeneration of corneal cells, nerves and tear film. For clinical use, implants based on fully characterized, recombinant human collagen eliminate the risk of pathogen transfer or xenogeneic immuno-responses posed by animal collagens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1158
Number of pages12
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cornea regeneration
  • Cornea transplantation
  • Corneal substitute
  • Hydrogel
  • Recombinant human collagen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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