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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

Conjunctival epithelial cells can resurface denuded cornea, but do not transdifferentiate to express cornea-specific keratin 12 following removal of limbal epithelium in mouse.

Limbal stem cell deficiency contributes to recurrent corneal epithelial defects. We examined whether the conjunctival epithelium can transdifferentiate to corneal epithelium following surgically induced limbal stem cell deficiency. Mice were anesthetized by intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital. Partial or total epithelial removal was produced with a no. 69 Beaver blade under a dissecting microscope. The wounds were allowed to heal for 0-28 days, and the mice were examined every other day to evaluate re-epithelialization. Corneas were then subjected to histological, immunohistochemical studies and Western blot analysis with epitope-specific anti-keratin 12 antibodies. Partial epithelial defects re-epithelialized within 2 days and were normal in appearance and expressed cornea-specific keratin 12. In eyes with limbal deficiency, re-epithelialization progressed more slowly and was characterized by opacification; epithelial closure usually occurred by the 7th day. This epithelium differed from normal corneal epithelium in basic morphology, cell shape, and the presence of goblet cells at 2 weeks after injury. The epithelium at the center of injured corneas with total defect at 4 weeks had cornealike morphology and was devoid of goblet cells. These epithelial cells derived from conjunctiva did not express the cornea-specific keratin 12 as determined by immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis and in situ hybridization. As evidenced by differences in morphology and the expression of cornea-specific keratin 12, conjunctival transdifferentiation does not occur in conjunctical overgrowth after the removal of limbal epithelium.[1]

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