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F. Majo, A. Rochat, T. Hoang–Xuan, Y. Barrandon; Stem Cells in the Central Cornea in Mammals . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):2087.
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The cornea is supposed to contain only transient amplifying cells (TAC) with limited growth capabilities generated by stem cells located at the limbus. Using a mouse model and a surgical approach, we have demonstrated that the corneal epithelium of the mouse self renews for months and can be serially transplanted and that the limbus does not normally contribute to corneal renewal under physiological conditions. We have also demonstrated the central cornea of several mammals contains clonogenic epithelial cells with extensive self renewal capacities. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the corneal epithelium of many mammals is self–maintained and contains stem cells. This implies that the mechanism of the renewal of the human cornea is an exception in mammals or that it should be revisited. Our results have significant implications in physiology, in pathology and for the therapeutic of ocular surface diseases.
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