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Hideki Fukuoka, Satoshi Kawasaki, Norihiko Yokoi, Shigeru Kinoshita; N-cadherin-expressing Conjunctival Epithelial Cells Have Strong Stem-cell Properties. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):2582.
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It has recently been reported that N-cadherin plays an important role in maintaining the stem-cell properties of corneal epithelial cells. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of N-cadherin in the maintenance of the properties in conjunctival epithelial cells.
After cell dissociation by the consecutive use of Dispase and trypsin, conjunctival epithelial cells were magnetically sorted into N-cadherin positive cells and negative cells. For those cells, colony forming ability and expression analysis against various types of undifferentiated and differentiated markers was conducted.
N-cadherin was mainly expressed in the basal layer of conjunctival epithelial cells. N-cadherin-positive conjunctival epithelial cells had higher colony-forming ability compared with the N-cadherin-negative cells. N-cadherin-positive cells had a relatively large cell size and expressed cytokeratin 13, but not cytokeratin 4. On the other hand, N-cadherin-negative cells had a relatively small cell size and expressed both cytokeratin 13 and cytokeratin 4. N-cadherin-positive cells expressed a significantly high level of Cytokeratin 15 and p63, which are known to be undifferentiated markers.
Considering the high colony-forming ability and high expression of the undifferentiated markers, N-cadherin-positive conjunctival epithelial cells seem to have an undifferentiated status, strongly suggesting that these cells are conjunctival epithelial stem cells.
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