Purpose: To provide an overview of cell-cell interactions in the cornea that have a critical role in corneal development, homeostasis, wound healing, and disease.
Methods: Review of the literature. RESULTS; Cell-cell interactions make critical contributions to development, homeostasis, and wound healing in the cornea. Many of these interactions are mediated by cytokines, growth factors, and chemokines. The best characterized are stromal-epithelial interactions between epithelial cells and stromal cells such as keratocytes, keratoblasts, and myofibroblasts. However, interactions also occur between corneal nerves and epithelial cells and between corneal cells (epithelial cells and stromal cells) and corneal immune cells. Although investigations are limited, it is likely that there are interactions between corneal endothelial cells and keratocytes in the posterior stroma.
Conclusions: Cellular communications in the cornea are critical during development, homeostasis, and wound healing. Disorders of cellular communication likely contribute to many corneal diseases.