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M. Saghizadeh, S. Soleymani, A. Harounian, S. M. Troyanovsky, A. V. Ljubimov; Alterations of Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Markers in Diabetes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):2954.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We previously identified several epithelial proteins with altered expression in human diabetic central corneas. Decreased hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-met) and increased proteinases were implicated in changes of these proteins in diabetes. The purpose was to examine whether limbal stem cell marker expression was altered in diabetes and whether c-met gene therapy could normalize marker expression.
Staining for ABCG2, N-cadherin, β1 integrin, K15, K17, and K19 was decreased in the diabetic limbus either by intensity or number of positive cells. We provide the first description of corneal expression of K17 that was found in clusters of limbal basal cells but not in the central corneal epithelium. This is the first description of K17 in the cornea. Patterns of tenascin-C, SOD2, ΔN-p63α, and laminin γ3 chain, did not change in diabetic corneas. C-met overexpression was accompanied by increased limbal staining for K17, β1 integrin, and a diabetic marker α3β1 integrin, compared to vector-transduced corneas.
The data suggest that limbal stem cell compartment is altered in long-term diabetes. Gene therapy, such as with c-met overexpression, could be able to restore normal function to diabetic corneal epithelial stem cells.
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