Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Testing corneal cell quality? Apply physics

23.07.2019

Kyoto scientists develop a physical biomarker for cornea restoration therapy

Our eyes -- the windows to the soul -- need constant care, and as we age, they sometimes also need significant repair.


This is a cutaway view of a human eye, showing the honeycomb-like arrangement of corneal endothelial cells.

Credit: Kyoto University/Tomo Narashima

The panes of these windows -- the corneas -- are transparent tissues that have been the focus of some of the oldest and most common transplantation surgeries. Now thanks to researchers in Kyoto, some such transplants may become even safer.

The team, led by Kyoto University physicists and Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (KPUM) ophthalmologists, has developed a 'quantitative biomarker' that makes it possible to assess the quality of corneal cells -- and even predict their long-term efficacy -- through simple observation. A report on their findings appeared recently in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

"Cornea transplantations become necessary when 'corneal endothelial cells' decrease in number, resulting in haziness," explains project leader Motomu Tanaka.

Endothelia don't multiply well in the human body, which is why there has been a need to rely on the transplantation of donor corneas for treatment. Fortunately, in 2009 a team of ophthalmologists at KPUM succeeded in developing a method to culture the cells in a dish.

"These new cells could then be then transplanted into the eyes of patients and restore their corneas to health," says KPUM's Morio Ueno.

This method has shown significant promise in clinical trials, but two major obstacles to wider application remain: quality control of cells before injection and confirmation of long-term functionality.

Typically, cell quality is assessed through protein expression patterns via 'flow cytometry'. However, a single test requires almost 100,000 cells and relies heavily on the observations and experience of senior professionals.

"Cells in a tissue are constantly interacting with each other to maintain a steady state, called homeostasis," explains first author Akihisa Yamamoto, adding that the concept of 'colloid physics' -- a method for measuring interactions of micro- and nanoparticles -- was employed to assess the cornea cells.

"Calculating the interactions between all cells in the cornea allowed us to find the 'spring constant', correlating with collective cell order."

Assessment is relatively simple. Researchers only need to extract the 'rims' of the cells, either from a microscopic image of the cells in a culture dish or from ophthalmological inspection images of the patients' eyes. Both the quality of the cells and their long-term efficacy can be determined with just one equation.

The procedure has potential applications in preemptive medicine, enabling clinicians and doctors to intervene before more severe symptoms appear.

"Our results are thanks to the united effort of physicists and doctors engaged in regenerative medicine," concludes Tanaka. "We foresee that our 'quantitative biomarker', and the concept behind it, will be applied to other epithelial cell cultures and tissues in the future."

###

The paper "A physical biomarker of the quality of cultured corneal endothelial cells and of the long-term prognosis of corneal restoration in patients" appeared on 22 July 2019 in Nature Biomedical Engineering, with doi: 10.1038/s41551-019-0429-9

About Kyoto University

Kyoto University is one of Japan and Asia's premier research institutions, founded in 1897 and responsible for producing numerous Nobel laureates and winners of other prestigious international prizes. A broad curriculum across the arts and sciences at both undergraduate and graduate levels is complemented by numerous research centers, as well as facilities and offices around Japan and the world. For more information please see: http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en

Media Contact

Raymond Kunikane Terhune
comms@mail2.adm.kyoto-u.ac.jp
81-757-535-728

 @KyotoU_News

http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en

Raymond Kunikane Terhune | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-019-0429-9

Further reports about: Biomarker Biomedical Cornea transplantation corneas endothelial cells

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Uncuffing nitric oxide production: Beta-arrestin2 complexes regulate NO levels
05.06.2020 | Medical University of South Carolina

nachricht Diabetes mellitus: A risk factor for early colorectal cancer
27.05.2020 | Nationales Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen (NCT) Heidelberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>