Cell Therapy of the Corneal Stroma Using Ex Vivo Cultured Extraocular Cells

  • Jorge L. Alió del Barrio
Part of the Essentials in Ophthalmology book series (ESSENTIALS)


Cellular therapy of the corneal stroma with either ocular or extraocular stem cells has been gaining a lot of interest along the last decade, while multiple publications from different research groups are showing its potential benefits in relation with their capacity to improve or alleviate corneal scars, improve corneal transparency in metabolic diseases by enhancing the catabolism of the accumulated molecules, generate new organized collagen within the host stroma and present immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory properties. Extraocular stem cells have a potential better autologous application as they don’t require a healthy contralateral eye and they don’t involve any ophthalmic procedure for their isolation, so it is usually better accepted by a patient who already presents a corneal disease. Among them, mesenchymal stem cells have been the most widely assayed and the ones with better potential to differentiate into functional adult keratocytes in vivo and in vitro. While embryonic stem cells have been partially abandoned due to their ethical implications, the discovery of the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has opened a new and very promising field for future research as they are pluripotent cells with the capacity to theoretically differentiate into any cell line, but they derive from adult differentiated cells, avoiding the limitations that embryonic cells present on this regard.

In this chapter we will review all current existing evidence regarding the cellular therapy of the corneal stroma by the use of extraocular stem cells, the type of cell lines that have been assayed and the methodology for their application.


Stem cells Regenerative medicine Corneal transplant Decellularized cornea Cornea Corneal stroma Cellular therapy MSC Mesenchymal stem cells 


Compliance with Ethical Requirements

Conflict of interest: The authors, their families, their employers and their business associates have no financial or proprietary interest in any product or company associated with any device, instrument or drug mentioned in this article. The authors have not received any payment as consultants, reviewers or evaluators of any of the devices, instruments or drugs mentioned in this article. All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study. No animal studies were carried out by the author for this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge L. Alió del Barrio
    • 1
  1. 1.University Miguel HernandezVissum-Instituto Oftalmologico de AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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