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Olivier Roy, Véronique Beaulieu Leclerc, Jean-Michel Bourget, Mathieu Thériault, Stéphanie Proulx; Understanding the Process of Corneal Endothelial Morphological Change In Vitro. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(2):1228-1237. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-16166.
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Corneal endothelial cells often adopt a fibroblastic-like morphology in culture, a process that has been attributed to epithelial- or endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT or EndMT). Although being extensively studied in other cell types, this transition is less well characterized in the corneal endothelium. Because of their neuroectodermal origin and their in vivo mitotic arrest, corneal endothelial cells represent a particular tissue that deserves more attention. This review article presents the basic principles underlying EMT/EndMT, with emphasis on the current knowledge regarding the corneal endothelium. Furthermore, this review discusses cell culture conditions and major cell signaling pathways that have been identified as EndMT-triggering factors. Finally, it summarizes strategies that have been developed to inhibit EndMT in corneal endothelial cell culture. The review of current studies on corneal and classical EndMT highlights some research avenues to pursue in the future and underscores the need to extend our knowledge of this process in order to optimize usage of these cells in regenerative medicine.
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