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Mesenchymal-epithelial cell interactions and proteoglycan matrix composition in the presumptive stem cell niche of the rabbit corneal limbus

Yamada, Keiko, Young, Robert David ORCID:, Lewis, Philip ORCID:, Shinomiya, Katsuhiko, Meek, Keith Michael Andrew ORCID:, Kinoshita, S., Caterson, Bruce ORCID: and Quantock, Andrew James ORCID: 2015. Mesenchymal-epithelial cell interactions and proteoglycan matrix composition in the presumptive stem cell niche of the rabbit corneal limbus. Molecular Vision 21 , pp. 1328-1329.

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Purpose To investigate whether mesenchymal–epithelial cell interactions, similar to those described in the limbal stem cell niche in transplant-expired human eye bank corneas, exist in freshly enucleated rabbit eyes and to identify matrix molecules in the anterior limbal stroma that might have the potential to help maintain the stem cell niche. Methods Fresh limbal corneal tissue from adult Japanese white rabbits was obtained and examined in semithin resin sections with light microscopy, in ultrathin sections with transmission electron microscopy, and in three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions from data sets of up to 1,000 serial images from serial block face scanning electron microscopy. Immunofluorescence microscopy with five monoclonal antibodies was used to detect specific sulfation motifs on chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans, previously identified in association with progenitor cells and their matrix in cartilage tissue. Results In the rabbit limbal cornea, while no palisades of Vogt were present, the basal epithelial cells stained differentially with Toluidine blue, and extended lobed protrusions proximally into the stoma, which were associated with interruptions of the basal lamina. Elongate processes of the mesenchymal cells in the superficial vascularized stroma formed direct contact with the basal lamina and basal epithelial cells. From a panel of antibodies that recognize native, sulfated chondroitin sulfate structures, one (6-C-3) gave a positive signal restricted to the region of the mesenchymal–epithelial cell associations. Conclusions This study showed interactions between basal epithelial cells and subjacent mesenchymal cells in the rabbit corneal limbus, similar to those that have been observed in the human stem cell niche. A native sulfation epitope in chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans exhibits a distribution specific to the connective tissue matrix of this putative stem/progenitor cell niche.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Publisher: Molecular Vision
ISSN: 1090-0535
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 11:04

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