April 2009
Volume 50, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2009
Stem-Cell Properties of Human Corneal Keratocytes
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. R. Chao
    Department of Ophthalmology, USC/Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, California
  • M. Bronner-Fraser
    Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  • P. Y. Lwigale
    Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  J.R. Chao, None; M. Bronner-Fraser, None; P.Y. Lwigale, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  Knights Templar Eye Foundation (JRC), Fight for Sight (JRC), NIH grants (MBF), NIH K99/R00 grant EY018050 (PYL)
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2009, Vol.50, 2049. doi:
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      J. R. Chao, M. Bronner-Fraser, P. Y. Lwigale; Stem-Cell Properties of Human Corneal Keratocytes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2049.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : To determine the stem cell properties of human corneal stromal keratocytes when challenged in the chick embryonic environment.

Methods: : Stromal keratocytes isolated from human corneas were injected along cranial neural crest migratory pathways and in the periocular mesenchyme in chick embryos. Localization Migration of the injected cells stromal keratocytes was determined at various stages of development by immunohistochemistry using human cell-specific markers. Differentiation of the human keratocytes into other neural crest-derived tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry with tissue cell-specific markers.

Results: : Human keratocytes injected along cranial neural crest pathways proliferated and migrated ventrally adjacent to host neural crest cells. They contributed to numerous neural crest-derived tissues including cranial blood vessels, ocular tissues, and cardiac cushion tissue mesenchyme. Keratocytes injected into the periocular mesenchyme region contributed to the corneal stroma and endothelial layers.

Conclusions: : Adult human corneal stromal keratocytes exhibit stem cell characteristics. They can be induced to form cranial neural crest derivatives, including other anterior ocular structures, when grafted into an embryonic environment.

Keywords: cornea: stroma and keratocytes • development • cornea: basic science 

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