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Dr Khurram Hashmani, Andrew Hopkinson, Matthew Branch, Harminder Singh Dua; Corneal Stromal Stem Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5151.
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To characterise the stem cell properties of corneal stromal cells (CSC) and to investigate their potential for differentiation into corneal epithelial cells (CEC).
CSC from donor rims were cultured for up to 9 passages and assessed against stem cell criteria. Investigations included flow cytometry to evaluate the expression of mesenchymal (MSC) and haematopoietic (HSC) markers. Furthermore, the ability of CSC to differentiate into adipocytes, osteoblasts and chondroblasts was assessed by histochemistry and qPCR. CSC were expanded in 2 different culture media. The cells from both cultures were sorted into 2 separate populations based on HSC marker expression. These 4 populations were assessed for MSC characteristics. The potential of each of these sub-groups to differentiate into CEC was analyzed by flow cytometry and qPCR.
CSC showed both HSC and MSC marker expression up to 4 generations. The different culture media showed clear distinction in the marker profile and differentiation potential of CSC. CSC separated by CD34 expression showed a significant difference in their expression of SC markers and their ability to differentiate. The differently cultured cells all produced CEC. However, one population showing a clearly superior differentiation capacity.
A population of CSC may have stem cell properties. Stimulation of these cells may be used to generate CEC. This has potential for clinical treatment of ocular surface disease.
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