Efficient and Scalable Directed Differentiation of Clinically Compatible Corneal Limbal Epithelial Stem Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Heidi Hongisto, Meri Vattulainen, Tanja Ilmarinen, Alexandra Mikhailova, Heli Skottman
University of Tampere
Corneal limbal epithelial stem cells (LESCs) are responsible for continuously renewing the corneal epithelium, and thus maintaining corneal homeostasis and visual clarity. Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived LESCs provide a promising cell source for corneal cell replacement therapy. Undefined, xenogeneic culture and differentiation conditions cause variation in research results and impede the clinical translation of hPSC-derived therapeutics. This protocol provides a reproducible and efficient method for hPSC-LESC differentiation under xeno- and feeder cell-free conditions. Firstly, monolayer culture of undifferentiated hPSC on recombinant laminin-521 (LN-521) and defined hPSC medium serves as a foundation for robust production of high-quality starting material for differentiations. Secondly, a rapid and simple hPSC-LESC differentiation method yields LESC populations in only 24 days. This method includes a four-day surface ectodermal induction in suspension with small molecules, followed by adherent culture phase on LN-521/collagen IV combination matrix in defined corneal epithelial differentiation medium. Cryostoring and extended differentiation further purifies the cell population and enables banking of the cells in large quantities for cell therapy products. The resulting high-quality hPSC-LESCs provide a potential novel treatment strategy for corneal surface reconstruction to treat limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD).
Product use
Differentiation if human pluripotent stem cells into corneal limbal epithelial stem cells
Tissue type
Tissue info
Differentiating corneal limbal epithelial stem cells from human pluripotent stem cells

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