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A Aintablian, K Engelmann, J Bednarz; Attachment of Cultivated Human Corneal Endothelial Cells After Transplantation . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):855.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: As we have shown in previous studies transplantation of human corneal endothelial cells seems to be a promising method to enhance the quality of the endothelium of donor corneas. Nevertheless little is known about the binding of the transplanted cells to the Descemet membrane and the subsequent formation of intercellular connections. Methods: Human corneal endothelial cells were cultured and transplanted to endothelial-free donor corneas using previously described methods. Expression of integrin ß1 and of ZO-1, a protein exclusively found in tight junctions was analysed by means of immunological staining using monoclonal antibodies. Additionally a monoclonal antibody was raised against cultured human corneal endothelial cells. This antibody was also used for immunhistochemical staining. Results: Cultured human corneal endothelial cells expressed the membrane bound proteins integrin ß1 and ZO-1. The monoclonal antibody against human corneal endothelial cells bound to a 130 kDa protein in the membrane of the cells which seems to be involved in the interaction between the cell membrane and the extracellular matrix. After transplantation of the cultured cells to donor corneas without endothelium these cells formed a new endothelium and showed the same expression pattern concerning these proteins. Conclusion: Integrin ß1 is a widespread molecule involved in cell attachment to extracellular matrix molecules. Together with different integrins from type α it forms heterodimers with binding sites for matrix proteins like fibronectin, collagen IV or laminin. These proteins are components of the extracellular matrix of HCEC. Concerning the immunological analysis of the expression of integrin ß1 as well as of the tight junction component ZO-1 the transplanted human corneal endothelial cells exhibited the same staining pattern as normal human corneal endothelial cells. Therefore after transplantation cell attachment seems to be mediated by the same mechanism as in normal corneas. The role of the identified 130 kDa protein in cell attachment is to be further analysed. This work was supported by the Ernst and Berta Grimmke foundation, Germany.
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