Fabrication of Corneal Extracellular Matrix-Derived Hydrogels

  • Mark AhearneEmail author
  • Julia Fernández-Pérez
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2145)


Hydrogels derived from corneal extracellular matrix (ECM) represent a promising biomaterial for corneal repair and regeneration. To fabricate these hydrogels, first corneas need to be decellularized using repeated freeze-thaw cycles and nucleases to remove all nuclear and cellular components. The remaining corneal ECM is lyophilized to remove all water and milled into a fine powder. The ECM powder is weighed and dissolved in pepsin solution at a concentration of 20 mg/mL. Hydrogels are formed by neutralizing the pH of the solution and maintaining it at 37 °C until fibrillogenesis has occurred. Corneal stromal cells may be suspended throughout the hydrogel solution prior to gelation to generate a corneal stromal substitute.

Key words

Hydrogel Scaffold Cornea Stroma Collagen Extracellular matrix Keratocyte 



The research is supported by funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 637460) and Science Foundation Ireland and Marie-Curie Action COFUND (grant no. 11/SIRG/B2104).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Engineering, Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland

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