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Transdifferentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells into limbal lineage in rabbits

Poster Details

First Author: Z.Elsanabary EGYPT

Co Author(s):    A. Elshiaty   E. Darwish   H. Gabr        

Abstract Details


To study the ability of mesenchymal stem cells derived from the bone marrow of rabbits to be trans-differentiated into limbal stem cells when they were co-cultured with limbal cells


Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt


Eighteen rabbits were used in this study. All procedures were done under general anaesthesia. Bone marrow aspirate from the iliac crest was used to separate mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) by the known lab procedures, they were identified according to the minimal criteria of MSC for morphology, immunophenotyping and trilineage differentiation ability. Partial thickness limbal tissue was obtained from the upper limbus of one eye of 13 rabbits. Isolated limbal cells were cultured & identified according to morphologic and immunophenotypic criteria Cells were identified as: limbal stem cell (CD62+ve OCT 3/4+ve) and mature limbal cells (CD62+ve, OCT3/4-ve). Limbal cells were added to MSC flasks after removal of non-adherent cells. Cultures are incubated & adherent cells were examined for evidence of transdifferentiation according to morphologic, immunophenotypic, and functional criteria. These cells were transmitted through amniotic membrane to mechanically and chemically injured rabbit corneas, which were sacrificed after 1 month and their corneas were examined for transdifferentiation into limbal lineage histologically and by immunophenotyping.


Clinical examination of injured corneas after transplantation proved to be improved. Identification of limbal cell lineage by the histological examination, immunophenotyping and morphological studies of the autopsy sections was positive


This study proved the ability of MSCs obtained from the bone marrow of rabbits to be transdifferentiated into limbal lineage when co-cultured with limbal stem cells and implanted through amniotic membrane into damaged corneas. These results pave the way for an alternative method to get viable limbal stem cells from another source than the autograft or the allograft procedures. Further research will be conducted to be applied on human beings

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