Current Trends and Future Perspective of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Exosomes in Corneal Diseases.


Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell group, Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), Singapore 169856, Singapore. [Email]


The corneal functions (transparency, refractivity and mechanical strength) deteriorate in many corneal diseases but can be restored after corneal transplantation (penetrating and lamellar keratoplasties). However, the global shortage of transplantable donor corneas remains significant and patients are subject to life-long risk of immune response and graft rejection. Various studies have shown the differentiation of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into various corneal cell types. With the unique properties of immunomodulation, anti-angiogenesis and anti-inflammation, they offer the advantages in corneal reconstruction. These effects are widely mediated by MSC differentiation and paracrine signaling via exosomes. Besides the cell-free nature of exosomes in circumventing the problems of cell-fate control and tumorigenesis, the vesicle content can be genetically modified for optimal therapeutic affinity. The pharmacology and toxicology, xeno-free processing with sustained delivery, scale-up production in compliant to Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, and cost-effectiveness are the current foci of research. Routes of administration via injection, topical and/or engineered bioscaffolds are also explored for its applicability in treating corneal diseases.


angiogenesis,corneal regeneration,exosomes,immunomodulation,inflammation,mesenchymal stem cells,