In vivo biocompatibility evaluation of in situ-forming polyethylene glycol-collagen hydrogels in corneal defects

Yoon Hong Chun, Sun Kyoung Park, Eun Jeong Kim, Hyun Jong Lee, Hyewon Kim, Won Gun Koh, Gabriella Fernandes Cunha, David Myung, Kyung Sun Na

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The available treatment options include corneal transplantation for significant corneal defects and opacity. However, shortage of donor corneas and safety issues in performing corneal transplantation are the main limitations. Accordingly, we adopted the injectable in situ-forming hydrogels of collagen type I crosslinked via multifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG)-N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) for treatment and evaluated in vivo biocompatibility. The New Zealand White rabbits (N = 20) were randomly grouped into the keratectomy-only and keratectomy with PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated groups. Samples were processed for immunohistochemical evaluation. In both clinical and histologic observations, epithelial cells were able to migrate and form multilayers over the PEG-collagen hydrogels at the site of the corneal stromal defect. There was no evidence of inflammatory or immunological reactions or increased IOP for PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated corneas during the four weeks of observation. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in the superior corneal stroma of the keratectomy-only group (indicative of fibrotic healing), whereas low stromal α-SMA expression was detected in the keratectomy with PEG-collagen hydrogel-treated group. Taken together, we suggest that PEG-collagen may be used as a safe and effective alternative in treating corneal defect in clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23913
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

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© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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