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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 516318, 14 pages
Research Article

The Use of an IL-1 Receptor Antagonist Peptide to Control Inflammation in the Treatment of Corneal Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Deficiency

1Biomaterials and Medical Devices Research Group, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
2Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead RH19 3DZ, UK
3Brighton Studies in Tissue-Mimicry and Aided Regeneration, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK

Received 15 September 2014; Revised 2 November 2014; Accepted 3 November 2014

Academic Editor: Achim Langenbucher

Copyright © 2015 E. Fok et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Corneal limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) may be treated using ex vivo limbal epithelial stem cells (LESCs) derived from cadaveric donor tissue. However, continuing challenges exist around tissue availability, inflammation, and transplant rejection. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or recombinant human IL-1β stimulated primary human keratocyte and LESC models were used to investigate the anti-inflammatory properties of a short chain, IL-1 receptor antagonist peptide for use in LESC sheet growth to control inflammation. The peptide was characterized using mass spectroscopy and high performance liquid chromatography. Peptide cytotoxicity, patterns of cell cytokine expression in response to LPS or IL-1β stimulation, and peptide suppression of this response were investigated by MTS/LDH assays, ELISA, and q-PCR. Cell differences in LPS stimulated toll-like receptor 4 expression were investigated using immunocytochemistry. A significant reduction in rIL-1β stimulated inflammatory cytokine production occurred following LESC and keratocyte incubation with anti-inflammatory peptide and in LPS stimulated IL-6 and IL-8 production following keratocyte incubation with peptide (1 mg/mL) . LESCs produced no cytokine response to LPS stimulation and showed no TLR4 expression. The peptide supported LESC growth when adhered to a silicone hydrogel contact lens indicating potential use in improved LESC grafting through suppression of inflammation.