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Am J Anat. 1982 Sep;165(1):83-98.

Corneal splitting in the developing lamprey Petromyzon marinus L. eye.


The cornea of the adult lamprey has both dermal (spectacle) and scleral components. These are separated by a thin mucoid layer that allows free movement of the globe. This study has shown that during the larval (ammocoete) stage, the lamprey cornea develops in a manner similar to that of other lower vertebrates. Just prior to the period of transformation to the adult parasite, the outer dermal portion of the ammocoete cornea (spectacle) consists of an anterior stratified columnar epithelium with goblet cells at the surface. The stroma of the dermal cornea consists of a thick outer layer of orthogonally oriented collagen with branching fibroblasts and a thin, loosely organized inner layer with slender elongated fibroblasts. The scleral cornea is lined internally by a flattened monolayer of mesodermal cells, the corneal endothelium. Its narrow stroma is composed entirely of thin, orthogonally arranged, collagen-fiber lamellae, and is bounded externally by a thin continuous mesothelial layer of cells that abuts directly onto the loose stromal component of the dermal cornea. During the early stages of transformation, the anterior epithelium of the dermal cornea becomes stratified squamous in type. Later, the inner loose stroma of the dermal cornea (spectacle) begins to separate from the scleral cornea components, and a third complete mesothelial layer forms a distinct inner border for the dermal cornea. A mucoid layer is formed between the dermal (spectacle) and scleral corneas and remains throughout the adult life.

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