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Evolution of the vertebrate corneal stroma

Koudouna, Elena ORCID:, Winkler, M., Mikula, E., Juhasz, T., Brown, D. J. and Jester, J. V. 2018. Evolution of the vertebrate corneal stroma. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 64 , pp. 65-76. 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2018.01.002

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Although the cornea is the major refractive element of the eye, the mechanisms controlling corneal shape and hence visual acuity remain unknown. To begin to address this question we have used multiphoton, non-linear optical microscopy to image second harmonic generated signals (SHG) from collagen to characterize the evolutionary and structural changes that occur in the collagen architecture of the corneal stroma. Our studies show that there is a progression in complexity of the stromal collagen organization from lower (fish and amphibians) to higher (birds and mammals) vertebrates, leading to increasing tissue stiffness that may control shape. In boney and cartilaginous fish, the cornea is composed of orthogonally arranged, rotating collagen sheets that extend from limbus to limbus with little or no interaction between adjacent sheets, a structural paradigm analogous to 'plywood'. In amphibians and reptiles, these sheets are broken down into broader lamellae that begin to show branching and anastomosing with adjacent lamellae, albeit maintaining their orthogonal, rotational organization. This paradigm is most complex in birds, which show the highest degree of lamellar branching and anastomosing, forming a 'chicken wire' like pattern most prominent in the midstroma. Mammals, on the other hand, diverged from the orthogonal, rotational organization and developed a random lamellar pattern with branching and anastomosing appearing highest in the anterior stroma, associated with higher mechanical stiffness compared to the posterior stroma.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1350-9462
Funders: National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., Skirball Program in Molecular Ophthalmology, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 January 2018
Date of Acceptance: 15 January 2018
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 17:45

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