Evaluating the Pecten Oculi's Effectiveness As A Medical Microfluidic Device

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Elizabeth Vargis


The pecten oculi is a unique structure found in the avian eye that may have applications in treating retinal disorders. Retinal disorders are difficult to treat with drug treatments because of barriers that prevent large molecules from entering the vitreous humor. Microfluidic devices are a possible method for delivering drug treatments to the retina without the use of invasive surgery, but are difficult to construct on the small scale necessary for treating retinal problems. Tissue-engineered pectens may offer a solution to this problem by providing scaffolds for creating microfluidic devices that can aid in drug delivery across the blood-vitreous barrier. The pecten is an unusual organ with a variety of theorized functions and characteristics that may increase or decrease its effectiveness as a drug delivery device. The purpose of this research is to review the findings of other researchers on pecten oculi and evaluate each feature's impact on the pecten's ability to function as a microfluidic conduit. Traits such as the high melanocyte and capillary content, as well as its rigid, light structure, would increase its effectiveness as a drug delivery method, while other characteristics, such as the limiting membrane and the hyalocytes found in some avian species, may limit its efficacy. These restrictive factors may be circumvented through species variation and tissue culturing selectivity.

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