Minimum number of adult human retinal pigment epithelial cells required to establish a confluent monolayer in vitro

Kwang-Soo KimTongalp H. TezelLucian V. Del Priore
Dept. of Ophthalmology (안과학)
Issue Date
Current Eye Research, Vol.17(10) : 962-969, 1998
Introduction Purpose. To determine the minimum number of cells required to establish a confluent monolayer of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) with an epitheloid morphology in vitro. Methods. Primary or passaged human RPE were harvested by trypsinization from 6 donors and plated onto bovine corneal endothelium extracellular matrix-coated tissue culture plastic in 96-well plates. Plating densities ranged from 1 to 66,000 viable cells/well (0.03–2062 viable cells/mm2) for primary cells or 1 to 100,000 viable cells/well (0.03–3112 viable cells/ mm2) for passaged cells. The time required to reach confluence was determined by monitoring the cultures daily until they reached confluence. Mean cell area and circularity index at confluence was calculated to determine the effect of different plating densities on final RPE morphology. Results. Primary RPE plated at densities above 10 viable cells/ mm2 (320 cells/well) and passaged RPE plated above 2 viable cells/mm2 (64 cells/well) reached confluence on every occasion. There was a negative correlation between the plating density and time required to reach confluence. Plating densities above 3 viable cells/mm2 (96 cells/well) and 50 viable cells/ mm2 (1600 cells/well) yielded smaller, rounder cells at confluence for primary and passaged RPE, respectively. Conclusions. As few as 96 primary RPE cells and 1600 passaged RPE are required to obtain a confluent, 6mm (4-disc diameter) patch of RPE in vitro. This suggests that autologous RPE grafts can be prepared with high efficiency for subsequent transplantation into the subretinal space in vivo. Curr. Eye Res. 17:962–969, 1998.
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