[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) secreted by corneal epithelial cells has a role in the remodelling of extracellular matrix and migration of epithelial cells. Elevated levels of MMP-9 activity in the ocular surface may be involved in the pathogenesis of corneal diseases. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used to treat corneal diseases, including recurrent epithelial erosions. In this study, its effects on the MMP-9 secretion and human corneal epithelial (HCE) cell migration were evaluated in vitro.
Confluent HCE cell cultures were treated with 0-20 mM NAC, and tested for MMP-9 secretion and epithelial cell migration by gelatin zymography and scratch wound assay, respectively. Comparisons between different treatment groups were made using analysis of variance, followed by multiple pairwise comparisons.
Twenty mM NAC inhibited the secretion of MMP-9 significantly. Cell migration, assessed after 24 h of wounding, showed a highly significant dose-dependent inhibitory effect.
This study shows that NAC reduces MMP-9 production by HCE cells and inhibits cell migration in vitro. This information helps to elucidate the mechanisms by which NAC may be beneficial therapeutically and suggests that NAC may be useful for managing corneal erosions and related conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in PAX6/Pax6 lead to a variety of ocular anomalies in humans and mice. The aim of the study was to characterise the ocular abnormalities caused by the missense Pax6(Leca4) mutation and compare them to published observations on Pax6 alleles that are functionally equivalent to Pax6(-) null alleles (such as Pax6(Sey) and Pax6(Sey-Neu)) and human inherited eye diseases. Ocular features of homozygous Pax6(Leca4)(/Leca4) and heterozygous Pax6(Leca4)(/+) embryos at E12.5-E18.5, heterozygous Pax6(Leca4)(/+) young mice at P18 and heterozygous Pax6(Leca4)(/+) adults at 12 weeks were analysed histologically with their wild-type Pax6(+/+) littermates. Homozygous Pax6(Leca4)(/Leca4) fetuses died perinatally with no eyes although an optic cup rudiment with pigmented cells developed. Pax6(Leca4)(/+) mice were microphthalmic and a range of other severe ocular phenotypes affected both the anterior and the posterior segments. In contrast to Pax6(+/-), the Pax6(Leca4)(/+) eyes had no goblet cells in the corneal epithelium, the iris was not hypoplastic and there was no lens-corneal epithelial plug. However, microphthalmia was more severe, corneal vascularisation occurred earlier (during fetal stages), pigmented cells were present in the vitreous and corneal stroma and the ciliary body was malformed or abnormal. These results show that, although Pax6(Leca4)(/+) lacked some eye abnormalities commonly seen in Pax6(Sey)(/+) and Pax6(Sey-Neu)(/+) eyes, in most respects their eyes were more severely affected. These differences probably reflect both differences between the Pax6(Leca4) and the Pax6(Sey-Neu) mutations and differences in modifier gene expression in different genetic backgrounds. The presence of pigmented cells in the cornea is a novel observation. Some Pax6(Leca4)(/+) ocular abnormalities were similar to those present in human Peters' anomaly and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV) so Pax6(Leca4)(/+) mice provide a useful model for some inherited eye diseases.
Experimental Eye Research 05/2009; 89(2):263-73. · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To analyze the effects of Pax6 overexpression and its interaction with genetic background on eye development.
Histologic features of eyes from hemizygous PAX77(+/-) transgenic (high Pax6 gene dose) and wild-type mice were compared on different genetic backgrounds. Experimental PAX77(+/-)<-->wild-type and control wild-type<-->wild-type chimeras were analyzed to investigate the causes of abnormal eye development in PAX77(+/-) mice.
PAX77(+/-) mice showed an overlapping but distinct spectrum of eye abnormalities to Pax6(+/-) heterozygotes (low Pax6 dose). Some previously reported PAX77(+/-) eye abnormalities did not occur on all three genetic backgrounds examined. Several types of eye abnormalities occurred in the experimental PAX77(+/-)<-->wild-type chimeras, and they occurred more frequently in chimeras with higher contributions of PAX77(+/-) cells. Groups of RPE cells intruded into the optic nerve sheath, indicating that the boundary between the retina and optic nerve may be displaced. Both PAX77(+/-) and wild-type cells were involved in this ingression and in retinal folds, suggesting that neither effect was cell-autonomous. Cell-autonomous effects included failure of PAX77(+/-) and wild-type cells to mix normally and overrepresentation of PAX77(+/-) in the lens epithelium and RPE.
The extent of PAX77(+/-) eye abnormalities depended on PAX77(+/-) genotype, genetic background, and stochastic variation. Chimera analysis identified two types of cell-autonomous effects of the PAX77(+/-) genotype. Abnormal cell mixing between PAX77(+/-) and wild-type cells suggests altered expression of cell surface adhesion molecules. Some phenotypic differences between PAX77(+/-)<-->wild-type and Pax6(+/-)<-->wild-type chimeras may reflect differences in the levels of PAX77(+/-) and Pax6(+/-) contributions to chimeric lenses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mouse corneal epithelium is a continuously renewing 5-6 cell thick protective layer covering the corneal surface, which regenerates rapidly when injured. It is maintained by peripherally located limbal stem cells (LSCs) that produce transient amplifying cells (TACs) which proliferate, migrate centripetally, differentiate and are eventually shed from the epithelial surface. LSC activity is required both for normal tissue maintenance and wound healing. Mosaic analysis can provide insights into LSC function, cell movement and cell mixing during tissue maintenance and repair. The present study investigates cell streaming during corneal maintenance and repair and changes in LSC function with age.
The initial pattern of corneal epithelial patches in XLacZ+/- X-inactivation mosaics was replaced after birth by radial stripes, indicating activation of LSCs. Stripe patterns (clockwise, anticlockwise or midline) were independent between paired eyes. Wound healing in organ culture was analysed by mosaic analysis of XLacZ+/- eyes or time-lapse imaging of GFP mosaics. Both central and peripheral wounds healed clonally, with cells moving in from all around the wound circumference without significant cell mixing, to reconstitute striping patterns. Mosaic analysis revealed that wounds can heal asymmetrically. Healing of peripheral wounds produced stripe patterns that mimicked some aberrant striping patterns observed in unwounded corneas. Quantitative analysis provided no evidence for an uneven distribution of LSC clones but showed that corrected corneal epithelial stripe numbers declined with age (implying declining LSC function) but stabilised after 39 weeks.
Striping patterns, produced by centripetal movement, are defined independently and stochastically in individual eyes. Little cell mixing occurs during the initial phase of wound healing and the direction of cell movement is determined by the position of the wound and not by population pressure from the limbus. LSC function declines with age and this may reflect reduced LSCs numbers, more quiescent LSCs or a reduced ability of older stem cells to maintain tissue homeostasis. The later plateau of LSC function might indicate the minimum LSC function that is sufficient for corneal epithelial maintenance. Quantitative and temporal mosaic analyses provide new possibilities for studying stem cell function, tissue maintenance and repair.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Corneal wound healing involves a cascade of interactions between the epithelium and stroma. Pax6 is upregulated, and early events include epithelial cell migration and apoptosis of superficial keratocytes. The mouse heterozygous Pax6 (Pax6+/-) corneal phenotype mimics human aniridia-related keratopathy (ARK), and some aspects of wound healing have been shown to be abnormal, including matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 expression. The purpose of this study was to test whether the Pax6+/- genotype affects corneal wound-healing responses, including stromal cell apoptosis, epithelial cell migration rate, and MMP secretion in culture.
Pax6+/- and wild-type (Pax6+/+) mice were killed and their corneas wounded by epithelial debridement. Whole eyes were cultured in organ culture and corneal epithelial healing rates and keratocyte apoptosis were quantified by topical fluorescein staining and TUNEL, respectively. Dissociated corneal epithelial cells from Pax6+/- and wild-type mice were cultured, and the activities of secreted MMP-9 were determined by zymography.
Wound-healing rates during the first 6 hours were significantly faster for larger wounds and for Pax6+/- corneas. Compared with wild-type, wounded Pax6+/- eyes showed significantly more stromal cell apoptosis, and cultured Pax6+/- corneal epithelial cells produced lower MMP-9 activity.
The cumulative effect of abnormal wound-healing responses, characterized by increased stromal cell apoptosis and reduced levels of MMP-9 secretion may contribute to the corneal changes in the Pax6+/- mice. Possible contributions of elevated stromal cell apoptosis and other abnormal wound-healing responses to ARK are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterozygosity for a PAX6 deficiency (PAX6+/-) results in low levels of the PAX6 transcription factor and causes aniridia. Corneal changes in aniridia-related keratopathy (ARK) include peripheral pannus and epithelial abnormalities, which eventually result in corneal opacity and contribute to visual loss. The corneal abnormalities of Pax6+/- mice provide an excellent model for the corneal changes seen in PAX6+/- humans. The aim of the present study was to investigate the contributions of different factors (including altered cell proliferation, abnormal epithelial differentiation and incursion of the conjunctival epithelium) that may underlie the pathogenesis of the corneal changes caused by low levels of Pax6 in heterozygous Pax6+/Sey-Neu (Pax6+/-) mice. BrdU incorporation showed enhanced proliferation of Pax6+/- corneal epithelium compared to wild-type controls and analysis of p63 (a marker of high proliferative potential) revealed a slight increase in frequency of p63-positive basal corneal epithelial cells in Pax6+/- mice. Immunohistochemical investigation of K12 (a Pax6-regulated marker of corneal epithelial differentiation) in 2-52-week-old mice showed that K12 expression was delayed and down-regulated in the Pax6+/- corneal epithelium, implying that differentiation of the Pax6+/- corneal epithelium was delayed and abnormal. Goblet cells were identified within the peripheral corneal epithelium of the Pax6+/- eyes, but some were surrounded by cells expressing K12, suggesting they may have arisen in situ in the corneal epithelium. These findings suggest that low levels of Pax6 may be directly responsible for failure or delay of proper differentiation of the corneal epithelial cells, but the proliferative component of the mutant epithelium is probably not impaired. This abnormal differentiation suggests that ARK is not entirely attributable to a limbal stem cell deficiency.
Experimental Eye Research 09/2005; 81(2):224-35. · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterozygosity for PAX6 deficiency (PAX6+/-) results in aniridia. Corneal changes in aniridia-related keratopathy (ARK) include corneal vascular pannus formation, conjunctival invasion of the corneal surface, corneal epithelial erosions and epithelial abnormalities, which eventually result in corneal opacity and contribute to visual loss. Corneal changes in aniridia have been attributed to congenital deficiency of corneal limbal stem cells. The aim of this paper is to review the potential mechanisms that may underlie the pathogenesis of aniridia related keratopathy. Current evidence, based on clinical observations and an animal model of aniridia suggest that the proliferative potential of the corneal limbal stem cells may not primarily be impaired. The corneal changes in aniridia may be related to an abnormality within the limbal stem cell niche. The mechanisms underlying progressive corneal pathology in aniridia appear multi-factorial and include: (1) abnormal corneal healing responses secondary to anomalous extracellular matrix metabolism; (2) abnormal corneal epithelial differentiation leading to fragility of epithelial cells; (3) reduction in cell adhesion molecules in the PAX6 heterozygous state, rendering the cells susceptible to natural shearing forces; and (4) conjunctival and corneal changes leading to the presence of cells derived from conjunctiva on the corneal surface.
The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 04/2005; 37(3):547-57. · 4.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a pleotrophic cytokine expressed in a variety of cell types, and have shown to regulate stem cell proliferation, vascular genesis, inflammation, and immunity in various locations. Expression of LIF and its role in the cornea have not been studied previously. In this study, we examined the expression of LIF in the cornea.
Immunohistochemistry was performed using polyclonal LIF antibodies, and Avidin-Biotin ABC complex on cultured human corneal epithelium corneal fibroblasts and wild-type murine corneal epithelium.
LIF was detected in the cytoplasm of murine corneal epithelium, cultured human corneal epithelium, and fibroblasts. The expression of LIF was mainly cytoplasmic.
LIF is expressed in the corneal epithelium and fibroblasts. It may have an important role in the maintenance of homeostasis of the corneal epithelium and cornea stroma. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the role of LIF in the cornea.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three-dimensional reconstruction and BrdU incorporation have been used to quantify the development and growth of the mouse mandible and to analyse its relationship to Meckel's cartilage and the molar teeth. The mandible anlage is first histologically detectable at E13.5 as paired plates of osteoid tissue within condensed mesenchyme (approximately 0.9 mm long and approximately 0.36 mm deep) that are lateral to the two arms of Meckel's cartilage. Over the next 3 days, each plate lengthens to approximately 3.6 mm, and extends medially at its superior and inferior edges, folding over to enclose the alveolar nerve and Meckel's cartilage and producing additional processes that form the molar tooth sockets (E15.5). At around E15.5, the first molar tooth socket forms from two processes that extend from the medial and distal parts of the mandible to surround the tooth. By E16.5, this process is complete in the distal region where Meckel's cartilage is beginning to degenerate. Mandible ossification begins at E14 with proliferation restricted to the outer surface. BrdU incorporation rates are particularly high at the proximal and distal ends where lengthening occurs, and at the superior and inferior edges as they extend medially to surround Meckel's cartilage. Incorporation rates slow at the distal ends of each mandible at E16.5 as they approach each other at the symphysis. The results indicate that the mandible mainly grows at its periphery, and the pattern of mandibular growth and morphogenesis suggests that these processes are mainly directed and constrained by paracrine signalling from Meckel's cartilage and the tooth buds.
Journal of Anatomy 09/2003; 203(2):213-22. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate corneal abnormalities in heterozygous Pax6(+/Sey-Neu) (Pax6(+/-), small eye) mice and compare them with aniridia-related keratopathy in PAX6(+/-) patients.
Fetal and postnatal corneal histopathology, adult corneal thickness, and the distribution of K12-immunostained cells were compared in wild-type and Pax6(+/-) mice.
Prenatally, the corneal epithelium was thinner in Pax6(+/-) fetuses than wild-type littermates, but the stroma appeared irregular, hypercellular, and thickened. The anterior chamber angle was obliterated, and the iris was hypoplastic from early developmental stages. The adult Pax6(+/-) corneal epithelium was thinner, had fewer layers, and included goblet cells, indicating repopulation from conjunctival epithelium. The ocular surface was often roughened, with epithelial vacuolation and lens tissue within the stroma. The corneal stroma was thicker centrally, with an irregular lamellar alignment. Many adult Pax6(+/-) corneas were vascularized or contained cellular infiltrates, but some remained clear. Corneal degeneration was age-related: Older Pax6(+/-) mice had prominent subepithelial pannus and more goblet cells in the peripheral corneal epithelium. Cytokeratin 12 stained very weakly in the peripheral and superficial corneal epithelium in 12-month-old Pax6(+/-) mice.
Corneal abnormalities in Pax6(+/-) mice are similar to those in aniridia-related keratopathy in PAX6(+/-) patients. This extends the relevance of this mouse model of human aniridia to include corneal abnormalities. Incursion of goblet cells suggests impaired function of Pax6(+/-) limbal stem cells, abnormal expression of cytokeratin 12 may result in greater epithelial fragility, and corneal opacities in older mice may reflect poor wound-healing responses to accumulated environmental insults.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patterns of growth and cell movement in the developing and adult corneal epithelium were investigated by analysing clonal patches of LacZ-expressing cells in chimeric and X-inactivation mosaic mice. It was found that cell proliferation throughout the basal corneal epithelium during embryogenesis and early postnatal life creates a disordered mosaic pattern of LacZ(+) clones that contrasts with patterns of proliferation and striping produced during the later embryonic stages of retinal pigmented epithelium development. The early mosaic pattern in the corneal epithelium is replaced in the first 12 postnatal weeks by an ordered pattern of radial stripes or sectors that reflects migration without mixing of the progeny of clones of limbal stem cells. In contrast to previous assumptions, it was found that maturation of the activity of limbal stem cells and the pattern of migration of their progeny are delayed for several weeks postnatally. No evidence was found for immigration of the progeny of stem cells until the 5th postnatal week. There are approximately 100 clones of limbal stem cells initially, and clones are lost during postnatal life. Our studies provide a new assay for limbal and corneal defects in mutant mice.