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Zhonghua Yan Ke Za Zhi. 2006 Mar;42(3):246-50.

[Experimental study on repairing damage of corneal surface by mesenchymal stem cells transplantation].

[Article in Chinese]

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Eye Center, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing 100083, China.



To investigate the survival, migration and differentiation of the cultured human mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow (hMSCs) after transplanted onto the alkaline burn rabbit cornea.


Alkaline burn on rabbit corneas was induced with NaOH solution. One month later, hMSCs cultured with a feeding of amniotic membrane were transplanted onto the surface of alkaline burn rabbit corneas. Amniotic membrane alone transplantation was used at the same time as control group. One month after transplantation, the changes of corneal morphology were analyzed by clinical observations and HE staining. Immunohistochemistry was carried out with the antibodies against human nuclei and cytokeratin 12 to investigate the distribution and differentiation of hMSCs.


The rabbit cornea became totally opaque one month after alkaline burn. Blood vessels could be seen within the superficial layer and stroma. The surface of cornea was rough and dry. There were many goblet cells found in the corneal epithelial layer. One month after transplantation of hMSCs, the surface of alkaline burn cornea became smoother. The amount of the new blood vessels of the cornea reduced and the goblet cells disappeared. Anti-human nuclei antibody staining showed positive cells on the surface layer and superficial stroma while cytokeratin 12 positive cells were only present in the epithelium layer. In the amniotic membrane transplantation control group, no clinical improvement of the cornea was found. Goblet cells were still seen on the corneal surface. Both anti-human nuclei antibody and cytokeratin 12 staining were negative.


hMSCs survive and migrate to stroma after transplanted onto the surface of alkaline burn rabbit cornea. No rejection is detected. hMSCs on the corneal surface differentiate to corneal epithelium, where those migrated to the stroma differentiate to cells other than epithelium. hMSCs transplantation decrease corneal conjunctivization after alkaline burn.

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