Mariappan I, Maddileti S, Savy S, Tiwari S, Gaddipati S, Fatima A, Sangwan VS, Balasubramanian D, Vemuganti GK. Nat Protoc. 2010 Aug;5(8):1470-9. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2010.115. Epub 2010 Jul 29.

Limbal stem cells (LSCs) have an important role in the maintenance of the corneal surface epithelium, and autologous cultured limbal epithelial cell transplantations have contributed substantially to the treatment of the visually disabling condition known as LSC deficiency. In this protocol, we describe a method of establishing human limbal epithelial cell cultures by a feeder-free explant culture technique using a small limbal biopsy specimen and human amniotic membrane (hAM) as the culture substrate. This protocol is free of animal-derived products and involves the use of human recombinant growth factors. In addition, the recombinant cell dissociation enzyme TrypLE is used to replace trypsin and autologous serum replaces FBS. It takes approximately 2 weeks to establish a confluent monolayer from which approximately 3 x 10(6) cells can be harvested. This procedure can be adopted for both basic research purposes and clinical applications.