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Arbeitsgruppe Polisetti


iPSCs – Corneal cell therapy

Since the last decade, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have represented a promising cell source for regenerative therapy in several disease states including LSCD. Currently, iPSCs are being explored with the aim to generate the various corneal cell types as an alternative to allogenic limbal grafts. Our research aims include the efficient generation of corneal epithelial cells from iPSCs and the development of robust methods for the purification of iPSC-derived corneal epithelial lineages. The biocompatibility of derived cells is to be tested in animal models first, but will eventually lead to generation of transplantable corneal epithelial cells suitable for regenerative applications.

Biomaterials – Scaffolds for limbal stem cell transplantation

Various biomaterials are being tried or used as matrices (amniotic membrane, fibrin gel, silk fibroin) for transplantation of LEPC in LSCD patients. An alternative natural tissue that has been investigated is decellularized corneal material. As part of our research, we use detergent-based decellularization of cadaveric human corneas and determine their effects on the different regions of the cornea.   We evaluate the biocompatibility and feasibility of implanting in ex vivo and animal models and strive to translate this approach into clinical practice. 

Limbal stem cell niche – Cellular and molecular interactions

Limbal epithelial stem cells are responsible for the homeostasis of corneal epithelium. They are located in a specialized microenvironment consisting of extracellular matrix and limbal niche cells including epithelial cells and melanocytes. Understanding of cellular and molecular interactions of limbal niche cells will help in improving the treatment of limbal stem cell transplantation.

Selected publications

Kistenmacher S, Schwämmle M, Martin G, Ulrich E, Tholen S, Schilling O, Gießl A, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Bucher F, Schlunck G, Nazarenko I, Reinhard T, Polisetti N. Enrichment, Characterization, and Proteomic Profiling of Small Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Human Limbal Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Melanocytes. Cells 2024;13(7):623.

Polisetti N, Martin G, Cristina Schmitz HR, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Schlunck G, Reinhard T. Characterization of Porcine Ocular Surface Epithelial Microenvironment. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 24(8):7543.

Polisetti N, Rapp J, Liang P, Dettmer-Monaco V, Bucher F, Pruszak J, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Cathomen T, Schlunck G, Reinhard T. Transcriptomic Landscape and Functional Characterization of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Limbal Epithelial Progenitor Cells. Cells 2022;11(23):3752.

Polisetti N, Schmid A, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Maier P, Lang SJ, Steinberg T, Schlunck G, Reinhard T.  A decellularized human corneal scaffold for anterior corneal surface reconstruction. Sci Rep. 2021; 11: 2992 .

Polisetti N, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U, Reinhard T, Schlunck G. Isolation and enrichment of melanocytes from human corneal limbus using CD117 (c-Kit) as selection marker. Sci Rep. 2020; 10: 17588.

Polisetti N, Sorokin L, Okumura N, et al. Laminin-511 and -521-based matrices for efficient ex vivo-expansion of human limbal epithelial progenitor cells. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):5152.

Polisetti N, Zenkel M, Menzel-Severing J, Kruse FE, Schlötzer-Schrehardt U. Cell Adhesion Molecules and Stem Cell-Niche-Interactions in the Limbal Stem Cell Niche. Stem Cells. 2016;34(1):203‐219.

Polisetti N, Islam MM, Griffith M. The artificial cornea. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1014:45‐52

Polisetti N, Agarwal P, Khan I, Kondaiah P, Sangwan VS, Vemuganti GK. Gene expression profile of epithelial cells and mesenchymal cells derived from limbal explant culture. Mol Vis. 2010;16:1227‐1240.

Polisetty N, Fatima A, Madhira SL, Sangwan VS, Vemuganti GK. Mesenchymal cells from limbal stroma of human eye. Mol Vis. 2008;14:431‐442.


Principal Investigator

Dr. Naresh Polisetti


Team Members

  • René Pöttke, Lab Technician
  • Dr. Benjamin Roschinski, MD
  • Michael Bucher, MD
  • Eva Ulrich, MD student
  • Sebastian Kistenmacher, MD student
  • Moritz Braunsperger, MD student
  • Tabea Herzig, MD student

Scientific advisors

  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Reinhard, MD
  • Prof. Dr. Günther Schlunck, MD