An approach to lens regeneration in mice following lentectomy and the implantation of a biodegradable hydrogel encapsulating iris pigmented tissue in combination with basic fibroblast growth factor

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: Panagiotis A Tsonis


Organ or tissue regeneration is the process by which damaged or lost tissue parts or whole body organs are repaired or replaced. When compared to amphibians, mammals possess very limited regenerative capabilities. Mammals are capable of lens regeneration following lentectomy only if the lens capsule is left behind. Regeneration is achieved by the residual lens epithelial cells (LECs) adherent to the remaining lens capsule. Urodele amphibians, however, have been reported to regenerate their lenses, following whole organ removal, by the transdifferentiation of the pigmented epithelial cells (PECs) of the dorsal iris. These cells, namely PECs, have been shown to possess a potential for transdifferentiation in vitro as well as in vivo. In this study, the feasibility of coaxing iris PECs to regenerate a lens in vivo was tested by encapsulating an iris pigmented epithelial tissue by a hydrogel bead combined with FGF and implanting the resulting matrix in lentectomized mice. This study also investigates the ability of aligned Poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) nanofibers in inducing the differentiation of LECs and the subsequent alignment of lens fiber cells.


Eye Regeneration, Epithelial cells Transplantation

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author