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Andrew J. Quantock, Craig Boote, Veronique Siegler, Keith M. Meek; Collagen Organization in the Secondary Chick Cornea during Development. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(1):130-136. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0544.
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purpose. The latter stages of morphogenesis in the embryonic chick cornea are instrumental in the establishment of a properly formed corneal stroma. This study was designed to provide better appreciation of collagen reorganization in the avian corneal stroma during the latter stages of embryogenesis.
methods. High-angle synchrotron x-ray diffraction patterns were obtained from 47 developing chick corneas daily at developmental days 13 through 18 (n = 7 or 8 at each time point) and analyzed to establish collagen molecular spacing and fibril orientation.
results. Collagen intermolecular x-ray reflections were of approximately constant intensity between days 13 and 15 of development, but thereafter became progressively more intense, suggesting that extra collagen is deposited in embryonic chick corneas after day 16 of development. At all times, the mean collagen intermolecular spacing measured approximately 1.43 nm. X-ray intensity was not uniform around the intermolecular x-ray reflections at earlier time points. Rather, a fourfold symmetry was evident, indicative of an orthogonal array of collagen fibrils. An index of this symmetry was essentially unchanged between developmental days 13 and 15, but thereafter diminished considerably.
conclusions. The lateral spacing of fibril-forming collagen molecules does not change as the chick cornea develops between days 13 and 18. An orthogonal array of collagen fibrils is present in the corneas of developmental day-13 to -18 chicks, but starting at developmental day 16, additional collagen is deposited in a less well-oriented manner and thus acts to obscure the overall orthogonality, with implications for the biomechanical strength and shape of the cornea.
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