An Osaka University research team has succeeded in creating conjunctival cells from induced pluripotent stem cells, also known as iPS cells.

The achievement, announced in an electronic edition of U.S. scientific journal Cell Reports, is expected to be utilized in the development of drugs for dry eye.

The conjunctiva, which covers the white of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid, produces mucin, a component of tears that protects the eye’s surface.

The team added growth-enhancing protein, among other substances, to iPS cell-derived cells that form the basis of the eye and created conjunctival epithelial cells as well as cells that produce mucin.

In studies using iPS cells, those on the retina and the cornea are most prominent. Availability is said to be limited for cells needed for studies on the conjunctiva.

“We’ve established a method of cultivating conjunctival cells,” said Ryuhei Hayashi, endowed chair professor at Osaka University. “Large amounts of conjunctival cells would be available and they can be utilized for examining the effects of treatment.”

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