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E H Chung, G Bukusoglu, J D Zieske; Localization of corneal epithelial stem cells in the developing rat.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(7):2199-2206.
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A monoclonal antibody, 4G10.3, was developed that preferentially binds limbal basal cells in adult rat, rabbit, and human corneas. These cells were hypothesized to be the stem cells for the corneal epithelium. The antibody 4G10.3 was localized by immunofluorescence microscopy in rats 1 d and 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, and 6 wk of age. Until 1.5 wk, 4G10.3 bound intensely to all basal cells in the cornea and the limbus. At 2 wks, the basal cells at the central cornea abruptly changed their shape from flattened or ovoid to large and cuboidal and bound 4G10.3 with greatly reduced intensity. Increased stratification of epithelium also was seen. Cells binding 4G10.3 gradually became sequestered to the limbal area after 2 wk, concomitant with increased stratification. At 4 and 6 wk, 4G10.3 binding was identical to that in adult corneas with only limbal basal cells showing positive binding. Basal cells in the limbal epithelium did not decrease their intense binding of 4G10.3 or change their ovoid cellular shape from 1 d through adult life. These results suggest that, during development, stem or stem-like cells are localized throughout the basal layer of the corneal and limbal epithelium. As the cornea matures, these cells are sequestered in the limbus at the same time that stratification of the epithelium and shape changes occur in the basal cells.
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