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K.L. Carraway, J. Zhang; Muc4 in Blood Vessels Formed in Response to Corneal Wounding . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(13):5006.
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Previous studies have shown that the membrane mucin Muc4 is associated with the luminal surfaces of blood vessels. The present investigation was undertaken to determine the presence of Muc4 in blood vessels forming after corneal wounding.
Corneal wounding was produced in rats by cauterization using applicator sticks coated with 75% Silver–Nitrite/25% Potassium–Nitrite. Changes in Muc4 and the endothelial cell protein von Willebrand Factor III (vWF) were assessed by immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining of paraffin–embedded sections of corneal tissues after 4, 5, 7, 10 and 15 days post–wounding.
Significant thickening of the stratified cornea epithelium was observed at the site of wound 4 days after cauterization. The number of Muc4–expressing cells significantly increased in the corneal stroma, especially around the site of wound and along the region from the limbus to the wound site during the first week after wounding. The Muc4–expressing cells at the wound site appeared in clusters and did not show detectable vWF expression. The endothelial cells, indicated by vWF staining, appeared in the cornea stroma to migrate toward the wound from the limbus individually, in strands or hollow structures. By 10–15 days, loops of these hollow strands form a network of new vessels, which become connected with the blood circulation. The corneal endothelial layer showed thickening in some regions, and vessels were developed. The Iris appeared nestled up against the corneal endothelium and its vessel density increased. Co–localization of Muc4 expression and the endothelial cell marker, von Willebrand Factor III (vWF), was observed in many of these forming vessels during this process of angiogenesis.
Muc4 is associated with the early stages of the recruitment of endothelial cells and formation of blood vessels in response to wound healing in the cornea.
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