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SE Wilson, RR Mohan, JW Hong, RR Mohan, JS Lee, R Ambrósio, AE K Hutcheon, J Zieske; Role of Epithelium in Myofibroblast Transformation in the Cornea . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):2931.
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Purpose: To examine the effect of ectopic corneal epithelium on keratocyte apoptosis, keratocyte proliferation, and myofibroblast transformation. Methods: Eight-eight New Zealand white rabbits had lamellar flaps formed in one eye with a micokeratome. In two groups, a 3 mm circle of scraped donor epithelium (central or peripheral) was placed into the lamellar interface. No epithelium was placed into the interface in the control group. Animals were euthenized at 4 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours, 1 week, and 1 month. There were 4 eyes in each group at each time point, except there were 8 in each group at the 4-hour time point. Stromal cell apoptosis was monitored with the TUNEL assay. Epithelial tissue, stromal cell proliferation, and myofibroblast generation were monitored with immunocytochemistry for keratin K3, Ki-67, and alpha smooth muscle actin, respectively. Results: Epithelium expressing keratin K3 was detected in the interface at all time points in groups in which central or peripheral epithelium was introduced. Keratocyte apoptosis at 4 hours was 15±1 (SEM) (p < 0.0001), 21±1 (p < 0.0001), and 9±1 in the central epithelium, peripheral epithelium, and control groups, respectively. Keratocyte proliferation at 72 hours was 29±30 (p < 0.05), 30±12 (p < 0.05), and 16±6 in the central epithelium, peripheral epithelium, and control groups, respectively. At 1 week and 1 month after surgery, myofibroblasts were present at the level of the lamellar interface in the central epithelium and peripheral epithelium groups, but not in the control group. Conclusions: Epithelial-stromal interactions are critical in the modulation of keratocyte apoptosis, keratocyte proliferation, and myofibroblast generation in corneal wound healing. View OriginalDownload SlideView OriginalDownload Slide
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