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Mitchell A Watsky, Xiaowen Lu; Effects of Vitamin D Receptor Knockout on Cornea Epithelium Gap Junctions. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5498.
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Vitamin D has been shown to influence cell differentiation, and recent work demonstrates the presence of vitamin D in the ocular anterior segment. This study examined the influence of vitamin D receptor (VDR) knockout on epithelial gap junction communication in intact corneas using a non-invasive technique, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP).
Heterozygous VDR knockout mice were obtained from The Jackson Labs and bred. Corneas from VDR knockout and control mice were stained with 5(6)-carboxyflluorescein diacetate. Gap junction diffusion coefficients of the corneal epithelium phenotypes, residing in intact corneas, were detected using FRAP.
Corneal thickness, cell size and the superficial squamous cell diffusion coefficient of VDR knockout mice were significantly lower than those of control mice. The superficial cell diffusion coefficient of heterozygous mice was also significantly lower than control mice.
The morphology supports previous work from our laboratory indicating vitamin D is involved in corneal epithelial tight junction control and points to a possible role of vitamin D and VDR in corneal epithelial regeneration. Meanwhile, we found that the squamous cells of VDR (-/-) mice had lower diffusion coefficients than those of VDR (+/+) mice. Thus, VDR and likely vitamin D modulation of gap junctions may be involved in the regeneration and development of corneal epithelium.
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