Concept: Corneal endothelium
The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of inducing rat neural crest cells (NCC) to differentiate to functional corneal endothelial cell (CEC)-like cells in vitro. Rat NCC were induced with adult CEC-derived conditioned medium. Immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and real time RT-PCR assay were used to detect expression of the corneal endothelium differentiation marker N-cadherin and transcription factors FoxC1 and Pitx2. CFDA SE-labeled CEC-like cells were transplanted to the corneal endothelium of a rat corneal endothelium deficiency model, and an eye-down position was maintained for 24 hours to allow cell attachment. The animals were observed for as long as 2 months after surgery and underwent clinical and histological examination. Spindle-like NCC turned to polygonal CEC-like after induction and expressed N-cadherin, FoxC1, Pitx2, zonula occludens-1 and sodium-potassium pump Na(+)/K(+) ATPase. The corneas of the experimental group were much clearer than those of the control group and the mean corneal thickness in the experimental group was significantly less than in the control group7, 14, 21 and 28 days after surgery. Confocal microscopy through focusing and histological analysis confirmed that green fluorescence-positive CEC-like cells formed a monolayer covering the Descemet’s membrane in the experimental group. In conclusion, CEC-like cells derived from NCCs displayed characters of native CEC, and the induction protocol provides guidance for future human CEC induction from NCC.
Current treatments for reversible blindness caused by corneal endothelial cell failure involve replacing the failed endothelium with donor tissue using a one donor-one recipient strategy. Due to the increasing pressure of a worldwide donor cornea shortage there has been considerable interest in developing alternative strategies to treat endothelial disorders using expanded cell replacement therapy. Protocols have been developed which allow successful expansion of endothelial cells in vitro but this approach requires a supporting material that would allow easy transfer of cells to the recipient. We describe the first use of plastic compressed collagen as a highly effective, novel carrier for human corneal endothelial cells. A human corneal endothelial cell line and primary human corneal endothelial cells retained their characteristic cobblestone morphology and expression of tight junction protein ZO-1 and pump protein Na+/K+ ATPase α1 after culture on collagen constructs for up to 14 days. Additionally, ultrastructural analysis suggested a well-integrated endothelial layer with tightly opposed cells and apical microvilli. Plastic compressed collagen is a superior biomaterial in terms of its speed and ease of production and its ability to be manipulated in a clinically relevant manner without breakage. This method provides expanded endothelial cells with a substrate that could be suitable for transplantation allowing one donor cornea to potentially treat multiple patients.
Vps35 (vacuolar protein sorting 35) is a major component of retromer that selectively promotes endosome-to-Golgi retrieval of transmembrane proteins. Dysfunction of retromer is a risk factor for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, Vps35/retromer’s function in the eye or the contribution of Vps35-deficiency to eye degenerative disorders remains to be explored. Here we provide evidence for a critical role of Vps35 in mouse corneal dystrophy. Vps35 is expressed in mouse and human cornea. Mouse cornea from Vps35 heterozygotes (Vps35+/-) show features of dystrophy, such as loss of both endothelial and epithelial cell densities, disorganizations of endothelial, stroma, and epithelial cells, excrescences in the Descemet membrane, and corneal edema. Additionally, corneal epithelial cell proliferation was reduced in Vps35-deficient mice. Intriguingly, cell surface targeting of SLC4A11, a membrane transport protein (OH- /H+ /NH3 /H2O) of corneal endothelium, whose mutations have been identified in patients with corneal dystrophy, was impaired in Vps35-deficient cells and cornea. Taken together, these results suggest that SLC4A11 appears to be a Vps35/retromer cargo, and Vps35-regulation of SLC4A11 trafficking may underlie Vps35/retromer regulation of corneal dystrophy.
Corneal endothelial diseases lead to severe vision impairment, motivating the transplantation of donor corneae or corneal endothelial lamellae, which is, however, impeded by endothelial cell loss during processing. Therefore, one prioritized aim in corneal tissue engineering is the generation of transplantable human corneal endothelial cell (HCEC) layers. Thermo-responsive cell culture carriers are widely used for non-enzymatic harvest of cell sheets. The current study presents a novel thermo-responsive carrier based on simultaneous electron beam immobilization and cross-linking of poly(vinyl methyl ether) (PVME) on polymeric surfaces, which allows one to adjust layer thickness, stiffness, switching amplitude and functionalization with bioactive molecules to meet cell type specific requirements. The efficacy of this approach for HCEC, which require elaborate cell culture conditions and are strongly adherent to the substratum, is demonstrated. The developed method may pave the way to tissue engineering of corneal endothelium and significantly improve therapeutic options.
PURPOSE:To evaluate the visual outcome and corneal endothelial cell density after Artisan aphakic intraocular lens (IOL) implantation (Ophtec, Groningen, the Netherlands) in pediatric eyes with subluxated lenses. METHODS:Artisan aphakic IOLs were implanted in 18 eyes of 11 children with subluxated lenses. Idiopathic subluxations and ectopia lentis due to Marfan syndrome were included, whereas subluxations due to trauma or buphthalmos were excluded. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and endothelial cell density were monitored. Mean postoperative BCVA and endothelial cell density at last follow-up visit were calculated. RESULTS:The age of children at the time of Artisan aphakic IOL implantation ranged from 8 to 16 years (mean: 11.58 ± 2.9 years). Mean follow-up was 9.12 ± 4.30 months. Mean postoperative logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution BCVA was 0.26 ± 0.13 (P = .001) and mean postoperative endothelial cell density was 2,860 ± 435 cells/mm(2) (P = .000). Mean endothelial cell loss was 17.1%. CONCLUSION:Artisan aphakic IOL implantation is a safe surgical choice in the management of ectopia lentis in the pediatric age group. It has minimal complications and is less traumatic to pediatric eyes. However, long-term follow-up of these children is required.
To evaluate the effect of diabetes mellitus (DM) on central corneal thickness (CCT), corneal endothelial parameters (endothelial cell density [ECD], average size [AVE], hexagonality [A6], polymegathism [SD]), and subfoveal choroidal thickness (SFCT), and to determine whether these parameters depend on the duration of DM and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level.
To develop a safe and efficient method for targeted, anti-apoptotic gene therapy of corneal endothelial cells (CECs).
Human corneal endothelial cells are derived from neural crest and because of postmitotic arrest lack competence to repair cell loss from trauma, aging, and degenerative disorders such as Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). Herein, we identified a rapidly proliferating subpopulation of cells from the corneal endothelium of adult normal and FECD donors that exhibited features of neural crest-derived progenitor (NCDP) cells by showing absence of senescence with passaging, propensity to form spheres, and increased colony forming efficacy compared with the primary cells. The collective expression of stem cell-related genes SOX2, OCT4, LGR5, TP63 (p63), as well as neural crest marker genes PSIP1 (p75(NTR)), PAX3, SOX9, AP2B1 (AP-2β), and NES, generated a phenotypic footprint of endothelial NCDPs. NCDPs displayed multipotency by differentiating into microtubule-associated protein 2, β-III tubulin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive neurons and into p75(NTR)-positive human corneal endothelial cells that exhibited transendothelial resistance of functional endothelium. In conclusion, we found that mitotically incompetent ocular tissue cells contain adult NCDPs that exhibit a profile of transcription factors regulating multipotency and neural crest progenitor characteristics. Identification of normal NCDPs in FECD-affected endothelium holds promise for potential autologous cell therapies.
To generate human embryonic stem cell derived corneal endothelial cells (hESC-CECs) for transplantation in patients with corneal endothelial dystrophies.
Tissue integrity and homeostasis often rely on the proliferation of stem cells or differentiated cells to replace lost, aged, or damaged cells. Recently, we described an alternative source of cell replacement- the expansion of resident, non-dividing diploid cells by wound-induced polyploidization (WIP). Here we show that the magnitude of WIP is proportional to the extent of cell loss using a new semi-automated assay with single cell resolution. Hippo and JNK signaling regulate WIP; unexpectedly however, JNK signaling through AP-1 limits rather than stimulates the level of Yki activation and polyploidization in the Drosophila epidermis. We found that polyploidization also quantitatively compensates for cell loss in a mammalian tissue, mouse corneal endothelium, where increased cell death occurs with age in a mouse model of Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD). Our results suggest that WIP is an evolutionarily conserved homeostatic mechanism that maintains the size and synthetic capacity of adult tissues.