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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Oct;46(10):3645-8.

Comparison of rabbit corneal endothelial cell precursors in the central and peripheral cornea.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.



To compare the distribution and self-renewal capacity of rabbit corneal endothelial cell precursors in the central and peripheral regions of the cornea.


The corneal endothelium (CE) and Descemet's membrane of New Zealand White rabbit corneas were divided into a peripheral region (6.0-10.0 mm in diameter) and a central region (6.0 mm in diameter). Then a sphere-forming assay was performed to isolate precursors from the CE of each region. Numbers of primary and secondary sphere colonies and sizes of primary spheres were compared between the central and peripheral regions.


Primary spheres were isolated from the peripheral and the central regions of the CE. The rate of primary sphere formation in the peripheral region (34.4 +/- 10.4/10,000 cells) was significantly higher than in the central cornea (26.8 +/- 6.6/10,000 cells; P = 0.0042), but there was no significant difference in the size of primary spheres between the two regions. Self-renewal capacity was higher in the peripheral region than in the central region, as evidenced by a significantly higher secondary sphere formation rate for cells from the periphery (39.0 +/- 8.8/10,000 cells) compared with that for cells from the central region (25.4 +/- 4.2/10,000 cells; P = 0.00028).


These findings demonstrate that peripheral and central rabbit corneal epithelia contain a significant number of precursors but that the peripheral endothelium contains more precursors and has a stronger self-renewal capacity than the central region.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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