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Cornea. 2010 Nov;29 Suppl 1:S32-40.

Heterogeneity of limbal basal epithelial progenitor cells.

Author information

1
From the *TissueTech, Inc, and Ocular Surface Center, Miami, FL; †Medical Center for Translational Research, Osaka University Hospital, Osaka Japan; ‡Department of Ophthalmology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan; §Eye Institute and Xiamen Eye Center, Xiamen University School of Medicine, Fujian, China; and ¶Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

Although corneal epithelial stem cells (SCs) are located at the limbus between the cornea and the conjunctiva, not all limbal basal epithelial cells are SCs. Using 2 dispase digestions to remove different amounts of limbal basal epithelial cells for cross-sections, flat mounts, and cytospin preparations, double immunostaining to pancytokeratins (PCK) and vimentin (Vim) identified 3 p63+ epithelial progenitors such as PCK-/Vim+, PCK/Vim, and PCK-/Vim+ and 1 p63+ mesenchymal cell, PCK-/Vim+. PCK-/Vim- progenitors had the smallest cell size were 10-20 times more enriched on collagen I-coated dishes in the 5-minute rapid adherent fraction that contained the highest percentage of p63+ cells but the lowest percentage of cytokeratin12+ cells, and gave rise to high Ki67 labeling and vivid clonal growth. In contrast, PCK+/Vim+ and PCK+/Vim- progenitors were found more in the slow-adherent fraction and yielded poor clonal growth. PCK/Vim progenitors and clusters of PCK-/Vim+ mesenchymal cells, which were neither melanocytes nor Langerhans cells, were located in the limbal basal region. Therefore, differential expression of PCK and Vim helps identify small PCK-/Vim- cells as the most likely candidate for SCs among a hierarchy of heterogeneous limbal basal progenitors, and their close association with PCK-/Vim+ presumed "niche" cells.

PMID:
20935540
DOI:
10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181ea4b13
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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