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S C Tseng, L W Hirst, M Farazdaghi, W R Green; Goblet cell density and vascularization during conjunctival transdifferentiation.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1984;25(10):1168-1176.
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After debridement of the entire corneal epithelium with n-heptanol, two groups of rabbit corneas were segregated according to the extent of corneal neovascularization. Using a new topographic goblet-cell counting method and routine histology, the authors have reexamined the process of conjunctival transdifferentiation and compared the changes of goblet-cell density and morphology between nonvascularized and vascularized groups for a follow-up period of 167 days. Analysis of the total goblet-cell density disclosed that no goblet cells appeared on the corneal surface during the entire period of reepithelialization. After that, two phases were identified with respect to goblet-cell density: phase I (day 0-17) and phase II (after day 17). In phase I, both groups had a similar surge of goblet cells, with the peak occurring between days 7 and 11, suggesting little correlation with vascularization. Morphologic studies indicated the presence of a prominent centripetal cellular migration. In phase II, the nonvascularized group showed a rapid decline in goblet-cell density, and as a result the morphologic transdifferentiation into a cornea-like epithelium was completed on day 43. The changes of goblet cells to a smaller size and the presence of a more acidic mucin in the centrifugal receding zone, suggested that transdifferentiation on nonvascularized corneas is a process involving changes of cellular differentiation. In contrast, the vascularized group maintained a high plateau of goblet-cell density and an epithelium with conjunctival characteristics until day 167. This result disclosed that retardation of conjunctival transdifferentiation by corneal vascularization was in phase II. The possible role of vascularization in the modulation of conjunctival transdifferentiation is discussed.
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