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      Corneal nerves: structure, contents and function

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      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Experimental Eye Research, 76(5), 521-542

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          Most cited references 160

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          Differentiation-related expression of a major 64K corneal keratin in vivo and in culture suggests limbal location of corneal epithelial stem cells

          In this paper we present keratin expression data that lend strong support to a model of corneal epithelial maturation in which the stem cells are located in the limbus, the transitional zone between cornea and conjunctiva. Using a new monoclonal antibody, AE5, which is highly specific for a 64,000-mol-wt corneal keratin, designated RK3, we demonstrate that this keratin is localized in all cell layers of rabbit corneal epithelium, but only in the suprabasal layers of the limbal epithelium. Analysis of cultured corneal keratinocytes showed that they express sequentially three major keratin pairs. Early cultures consisting of a monolayer of "basal" cells express mainly the 50/58K keratins, exponentially growing cells synthesize additional 48/56K keratins, and postconfluent, heavily stratified cultures begin to express the 55/64K corneal keratins. Cell separation experiments showed that basal cells isolated from postconfluent cultures contain predominantly the 50/58K pair, whereas suprabasal cells contain additional 55/64K and 48/56K pairs. Basal cells of the older, postconfluent cultures, however, can become AE5 positive, indicating that suprabasal location is not a prerequisite for the expression of the 64K keratin. Taken together, these results suggest that the acidic 55K and basic 64K keratins represent markers for an advanced stage of corneal epithelial differentiation. The fact that epithelial basal cells of central cornea but not those of the limbus possess the 64K keratin therefore indicates that corneal basal cells are in a more differentiated state than limbal basal cells. These findings, coupled with the known centripetal migration of corneal epithelial cells, strongly suggest that corneal epithelial stem cells are located in the limbus, and that corneal basal cells correspond to "transient amplifying cells" in the scheme of "stem cells----transient amplifying cells----terminally differentiated cells."
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            Tackling pain at the source: new ideas about nociceptors.

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              Morphology of corneal nerves using confocal microscopy.

               N Efron,  P Soto (2001)
              The aim of the current study was to evaluate the distribution and morphology of corneal nerves as seen by means of white light confocal microscopy. This study analyzed images of corneal nerves that were obtained using the Tomey Confoscan slit scanning confocal microscope (40x/0.75 objective lens). The images were classified according to their location within the cornea. The objective and subjective evaluation of the images involved measuring, grading, or judging a number of parameters from both individual pictures and from each single nerve fiber within any image. The in vivo observations made in this work are in agreement with those of previous histologic studies. The general scheme of corneal innervation is described as originating from thick and straight stromal nerve trunks that extend lateral and anteriorly and give rise to plexiform arrangements of progressively thinner nerve fibers at several levels within the stroma. From there, nerve fibers perforate Bowman's layer and eventually form a dense neural plexus just beneath the basal epithelial cell layer, which is characterized by tortuous and thin beaded nerve fibers interconnected by numerous nerve elements; nerve fibers from this plexus are known to be responsible for the innervation of the epithelium. This study provides convincing evidence of the suitability of confocal microscopy to image corneal nerves, the only drawback being the limited resolution in terms of the differentiation of the ultrastructure of nerve bundles.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Elsevier BV
                2003
                May 2003
                24 March 2019
                Article
                10.1016/S0014-4835(03)00050-2
                12697417

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