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Dev Biol. 1988 Aug;128(2):396-405.

Acquisition of type IX collagen by the developing avian primary corneal stroma and vitreous.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111.


Previous investigations from our laboratory and others have demonstrated that type II collagen, once thought to be a cartilage-specific molecule, is also a component of both the primary corneal stroma and the vitreous of embryonic chickens. In the present immunohistochemical study we have examined the expression in these embryonic matrices of another "cartilage-specific" collagen, type IX, along with type II. In the cornea, type IX collagen is in the primary stroma, but is not detectable in the mature, secondary stroma. Even within the primary stroma this collagen has a brief, transitory existence. It first appears in the peripheral stroma at the time the endothelial cells begin to migrate along its posterior surface, and spreads throughout the stroma during the following 24-36 hr. The epitopes on type IX collagen then suddenly become undetectable just before this matrix swells and becomes populated by the periocular mesenchymal cells (future keratocytes). In comparison, collagen type II (along with type I) is present in the stroma before and long after these events. Deposition of immunodetectable type IX collagen in the developing corneal stroma thus seems to be independent of type II. In the vitreous, we observed type IX collagen along with type II as soon as authentic vitreous could be identified and at all subsequent stages of development. In this tissue, therefore, the expression of collagen types IX and II appears to be coordinate.

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