Document Detail

Morphological characteristics of the limbal epithelial crypt.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17020899     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
AIM: In 2005 we reported the discovery of a novel anatomical structure at the limbus, which we termed the limbal epithelial crypt (LEC). The purpose of this study was to further evaluate the distribution, immunophenotypical, and ultra structural characteristics of the LEC as a putative niche of stem cells. METHODS: Sequential histological sections of human corneo-scleral limbal rims were examined for the presence and distribution of the LEC. Immunophenotypical characterisation of the LEC cells using a panel of antibodies of interest was undertaken. Transmission electron microscopy of the LEC was used to examine the ultra structural and morphometric features of cells within the LEC and adjacent limbus. RESULTS: A total of 74 LECs were identified in eight corneo-scleral rims. These varied in number, size and distribution within rims. Cells within the crypt demonstrated the following phenotype: CK3-/CK19+/CD 34-/Vimentin+/p63+/Connexin 43+/MIB1 (Ki67)-. Presence of Cx43 was also demonstrated in the rete pegs adjacent to the LEC. Basal cells of the LEC were significantly smaller than basal cells found in adjacent rete pegs and also smaller than suprabasal limbal and central corneal epithelial cells (p<0.05). Morphologically they had a high nuclear:cytoplasmic ratio and were adherent to the underlying basement membrane by means of complex convolutions of cytoplasmic processes. CONCLUSIONS: LECs are sparse but a consistent finding in the human corneo-scleral limbus. The LEC contains a unique sub-population of cells expressing several characteristics that are consistent with it representing a putative stem cell niche.
Vijay A Shanmuganathan; Toshana Foster; Bina B Kulkarni; Andrew Hopkinson; Trevor Gray; Des G Powe; James Lowe; Harminder S Dua
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2006-10-04
Journal Detail:
Title:  The British journal of ophthalmology     Volume:  91     ISSN:  0007-1161     ISO Abbreviation:  Br J Ophthalmol     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-03-20     Completed Date:  2007-05-01     Revised Date:  2010-09-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0421041     Medline TA:  Br J Ophthalmol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  514-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
The Larry A Donoso Laboratory for Eye Research, Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Cell Size
Connexin 43 / metabolism
Epithelium, Corneal / immunology,  metabolism,  ultrastructure*
Immunoenzyme Techniques
Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism
Limbus Corneae / immunology,  metabolism,  ultrastructure*
Membrane Proteins / metabolism
Microscopy, Electron
Stem Cells / metabolism,  ultrastructure
Reg. No./Substance:
0/CKAP4 protein, human; 0/Connexin 43; 0/GJA1 protein, human; 0/Intermediate Filament Proteins; 0/Membrane Proteins

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