June 2023
Volume 64, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2023
Examination of limbal stromal structures by in vivo confocal microscopy and anterior segment optical coherence tomography angiography – correlation with immunohistological analysis of limbal niche structures
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lili Takács
    Department of Ophthalmology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • Gréta Kemenes
    Department of Ophthalmology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
    Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • Beáta Bajdik
    Department of Ophthalmology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • Mariann Fodor
    Department of Ophthalmology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • István Rebenku
    Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • György Vereb
    Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, Debreceni Egyetem Altalanos Orvostudomanyi Kar, Debrecen, Hungary
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Lili Takács None; Gréta Kemenes None; Beáta Bajdik None; Mariann Fodor None; István Rebenku None; György Vereb None
  • Footnotes
    Support  OTKA K135938
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2023, Vol.64, 4026. doi:
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      Lili Takács, Gréta Kemenes, Beáta Bajdik, Mariann Fodor, István Rebenku, György Vereb; Examination of limbal stromal structures by in vivo confocal microscopy and anterior segment optical coherence tomography angiography – correlation with immunohistological analysis of limbal niche structures. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2023;64(8):4026.

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

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Abstract

Purpose : Limbal stromal niche structures are essential in the maintenance of limbal epithelial stem cells. The purpose of this study was to examine limbal stromal structures by clinical imaging methods such as in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) and anterior segment optical coherence tomography with or without angiography (aOCTA, aOCT) and correlate findings with immunohistological features of limbal niche structures.

Methods : The corneal limbus of 6 healthy individuals was examined by IVCM, aOCT and aOCTA. Immunohistological analysis was performed in cadaveric cornea samples sectioned in directions corresponding to the IVCM and OCT imaging, with putative markers for limbal niche cells (CD90, CD105, nestin, N-cadherin, Melan-A, SSEA-4), blood/lymphatic vessels (CD31), nerves (acetyl-tubulin and beta-III-tubulin), limbal epithelial progenitor cells (CK14/15, p63) and hyaluronic acid (HA).

Results : Limbal stroma associated with the palisades of Vogt (POV) was hyperreflective on IVCM and was located between the area of capillaries running in POV and deeper vessels running towards the sclera. On aOCT and aOCTA limbal stroma appeared as a small hyperreflective area between superficial and deep limbal blood vessels. Immunofluorescence showed numerous mesenchymal cells positive for putative niche markers surrounding the deep and superficial vessels identified on IVCM and aOCT. Nerves run alongside the blood vessels and all structures are surrounded by a limbal stroma rich in hyaluronic acid.

Conclusions : The limbal stromal hyperreflective areas on IVCM and aOCT located between deep and superficial limbal vessels correspond to the HA-rich stroma. Limbal vessels and nerves running in this stroma are surrounded by putative niche cells, thus damage to limbal blood vessels not only causes limbal ischaemia but also indicates potential direct damage to niche cells.

This abstract was presented at the 2023 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 2023.

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