Extracellular matrix protein coating of processed fish scales improves human corneal endothelial cell adhesion and proliferation

Yi Jen Hsueh, David Hui Kang Ma, Kathleen Sheng Chuan Ma, Tze Kai Wang, Cheng Hung Chou, Chien Cheng Lin, Min Chang Huang, Li Jyuan Luo, Jui Yang Lai, Hung Chi Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Corneal transplantation can treat corneal endothelial diseases. Implanting cultivated human corneal endothelial cells (HCECs) via a cell carrier has clinical value as an alternative therapeutic strategy. This study was performed to compare the feasibility of fish scales and other biomaterials (gelatin and chitosan) as cell carriers and to investigate the effects of an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein coating to improve the cytocompatibility of fish scales. Methods: The physical properties of gelatin, chitosan, and fish scales were compared. Immortalized HCECs (B4G12) were cultured on processed fish scales, which were coated with fibronectin, laminin, collagen IV, or FNC Coating Mix. Cell attachment and proliferation were evaluated by immunofluorescence, cell counting, and bromode-oxyuridine (BrdU) labeling assays. Immunoblots were used to examine the expression levels of integrin-linked kinase (ILK), phosphate-ILK, b-catenin, p63, and cell cycle mediators (cyclin D1 and p27Kip1). Results: The transparency of processed fish scales was better than that of chitosan, while the strength was higher than that of gelatin. The laminin, collagen IV, and FNC coatings facilitated B4G12 cell adhesion and proliferation, while fibronectin only facilitated cell adhesion. The laminin, collagen IV, and FNC coatings also upregulated phosphate-ILK and p63 expression. In addition, the FNC coating activated cell cycle mediators. Conclusion: ECM protein-coated processed fish scales can serve as a novel cell carrier to facilitate the development of HCEC transplantation. Translational Relevance: Improving the physical properties and cytocompatibility of fish scales as a cell carrier will facilitate the transplantation of HCECs into corneas for the purpose of cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 05 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.


  • Cytocompatibility
  • Extracellular matrix protein
  • Fish scales
  • Human corneal endothelial cells
  • Surface coating


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