Corneal Endothelium: Isolation and Cultivation Methods

  • David Mingo-Botín
  • Marie Joan Therese D. Balgos
  • Francisco Arnalich-Montiel
Part of the Essentials in Ophthalmology book series (ESSENTIALS)


The corneal endothelium maintains corneal transparency, and endothelial cell function depends on cell density and quality – with physiologic decline noted from childhood to adulthood. When this process is accelerated due to injuries or endothelial pathologies, irreversible corneal edema occurs. Traditionally transplantation has been the recourse for replacement of diseased corneal tissue; however this is limited by availability of cadaveric corneal tissue donor sources. There is considerable interest in developing suitable alternatives for donor endothelial graft material.

Recent advances have made possible the isolation and culture of suitable and viable human endothelial cells (HCEC) from various sources – whether from primary HCECs, established cell lines, or stem cells. Synthetic, biosynthetic, and organic substrates are also being investigated as carriers for the cultured cells. Current research is aimed at performing the culture process under xeno-free conditions. In conclusion, great progress has been made due to advances in knowledge of the HCEC cell cycle and the development of techniques for cell culture. This makes the application of tissue engineering for patients with corneal endothelial disease a distinct possibility in the near future.


Corneal endothelium Corneal endothelial dysfunction Bullous keratopathy Cell culture Tissue engineering Transplantation 


Compliance with Ethical Requirements

David Mingo-Botín, Marie Joan Therese Dr. Balgos, and Francisco Arnalich-Montiel declare that they have no conflict of interest. No human or animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Mingo-Botín
    • 1
  • Marie Joan Therese D. Balgos
    • 2
  • Francisco Arnalich-Montiel
    • 3
  1. 1.Cornea Unit, Department of OphthalmologyHospital Universitario Ramón y CajalMadridSpain
  2. 2.Research and Development Department, Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Surgery Department, Vissum AlicanteAlicanteSpain
  3. 3.Vissum CorporationMadridSpain

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