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Matina Economopoulou, Jimmy Masjkur, Frederick Raiskup, Mike Karl, Richard Funk, Triantafyllos Chavakis, Lutz Pillunat, Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis; Expression of the neural stem cell marker Hes3 in the rodent and human ocular surface. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2570.
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Hairy and Enhancer of Split 3 (Hes3) is a recently established biomarker of neural stem cells in the fetal and adult brain of rodents and primates, including humans. Expression of Hes3 persists during quiescence, allowing the detection of non-proliferating stem cells and precursor cells. Hes3 also identifies putative cancer stem cells in aggressive brain tumors, rendering it a useful biomarker of both normal and cancerous neural stem cells. In this work we address whether Hes3 can also be found on the ocular surface.
Adult mouse and human eye tissue was prepared for immunohistochemical detection of Hes3 and other markers. Physiological human tissue was obtained from a Cornea bank and pterygium samples were obtained from pterygium excision surgery after patient consent.
The adult rodent and human eye, as well as pterygium samples, contain a population of cells expressing Hes3. In the human eye, Hes3+ cells are found predominantly in the limbus where they physically associate with blood vessels.
Hes3, a recent biomarker of neural stem cells in the adult brain and spinal cord, as well as in brain tumors, is also expressed in the human limbus and in pterygium. Hes3+ cells in the eye also show similarities to those in the brain, in that they maintain tight physical associations with blood vessels. These results suggest that limbal Hes3+ cells may have precursor properties, and that a common mechanism may regulate Hes3+ cells in the brain and the eye.
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