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CLAES H. DOHLMAN, ANTONIO R. GASSET, JEANNETTE ROSE; The Effect of the Absence of Corneal Epithelium or Endothelium on the Stromal Keratocytes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1968;7(5):520-534.
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Intact calf corneas and calf corneas with epithelium and endothelium removed were incubated in vitro with inorganic sulfate-35S for 6 hours at 38° C. The incorporation of 35S into the nondialyzable substances (essentially mucopolysaccharides) was measured. No significant difference was found between the 35S incorporation of the denuded stroma and that of the intact cornea. Calf corneal stromas, swollen and normally hydrated, were similarly incubated in vitro. The siuelling per se had no effect on the 35S incorporation. The corneal epithelium was removed from one eye of rabbits in vivo, and inorganic sulfate-35S was immediately injected intravenously. The absence of epithelium caused a more rapid diffusion of the sulfate-35S ion into the stroma than occurred in the control eye. Isotope incorporation, in the absence of epithelium, was lower near the anterior surface and slightly higher in the posterior stroma within the first 24 hours as compared with the normal cornea. When the endothelium toas removed from the rabbit cornea in vivo and sulfate-35S was administered intravenously, the results showed only a slight decrease in the rate of mucopolysaccharide synthesis in the stroma. Histologic studies were carried out on rabbit corneas from which the epithelium had been removed and kept away for up to 10 days. The stroma cells survived throughout the stroma unless undue trauma had occurred. Near the anterior surface, however, some of the keratocytes transformed into fibroblasts. Following removal of the endothelium, the corneas could be followed histologically for up to 6 weeks. Here also, the keratocytes survived and the picture was similar when both epithelium and endothelium had been removed. Following removal of the endothelium, eosinophilic and metachromatic material accumulated in the anterior stroma and, eventually, in the basal cells of the epithelium, seemingly washed through the stroma to the corneal surface by a flow of fluid from the anterior chamber. It was concluded that--least for a limited time--the stromal cells can function independently of the epithelium and the endothelium.
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