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Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 May;126(5):665-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.126.5.665.

Limbal epithelial crypt: a model for corneal epithelial maintenance and novel limbal regional variations.

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  • 1Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the distribution of cell membrane proteins and extracellular matrix proteins around the limbal epithelial crypt (LEC) compared with adjacent limbus and corneal epithelium.

METHODS:

Serial histological sections of human corneoscleral limbus rims were stained with antibodies of interest by standard immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS:

Superficial cells of the limbus were desmoglein 3 positive, compared with the negative basal cells of the limbus that correspond to cells with more stemlike properties. The LEC had a much lower proportion of desmoglein 3 staining in comparison. Tenascin C staining demonstrated regional variations of the limbus depending on their association with the LEC. Limbus that was associated with or adjacent to the LEC had a greater tenascin C expression compared with normal limbus, whereas the LEC demonstrated the greatest tenascin C expression.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on these and similar results previously reported for connexin 43, we propose a novel model on the mechanism of corneal surface epithelium maintenance involving 3 different limbal regions: zone 1, limbus including the LEC; zone 2, limbus associated with the LEC; and zone 3, limbus distant to the LEC.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

The noted limbal variations may influence the selection of the donor site for limbal grafts in the future.

PMID:
18474777
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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