Vertebrate eye development is a complex multistep process coordinated by signals from the lens, optic cup and periocular mesenchyme. Although chemokines are increasingly being recognized as key players in cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation during embryonic development, their potential role during eye development has not been examined. In this study, we demonstrate by section in situ hybridization that CXCL12 and CXCL14 are expressed during ocular development. CXCL12 is expressed in the periocular mesenchyme, ocular blood vessels, retina, and eyelid mesenchyme, and its expression pattern is conserved between chick and mouse in most tissues. Expression of CXCL14 is localized in the ocular ectoderm, limbal epithelium, scleral papillae, eyelid mesenchyme, corneal keratocytes, hair follicles, and retina, and it was only conserved in the upper eyelid ectoderm of chick and mouse. The unique and non-overlapping patterns of CXCL12 and CXCL14 expression in ocular tissues suggest that these two chemokines may interact and have important functions in cell proliferation, differentiation and migration during eye development.
Keywords: Cornea; Eyelid; Limbal epithelium; Nictitating membrane; Retina; Scleral ossicles.
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