Concept and application of limbal stem cells

Eye (Lond). 1989:3 ( Pt 2):141-57. doi: 10.1038/eye.1989.22.


Cumulative reported evidence indicates that some fraction of limbal basal epithelial cells are the stem cells for corneal epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation. Limbal epithelium is therefore crucial in maintaining the cell mass of corneal epithelium under normal conditions and plays an important role in corneal epithelial wound healing. Deficiency or absence of limbal stem cells explains well the pathogenesis of several ocular surface disorders characterised by defective conjunctival transdifferentiation or conjunctivalisation of cornea. This paper reviews and updates the basic concept of stem cells, the reported findings of limbal stem cells for corneal epithelium, and their therapeutic applications. Through this review, one hopes to gain a more complete understanding and increase proficiency in treating these diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cornea / anatomy & histology
  • Cornea / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / abnormalities
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Eye Diseases / therapy
  • Eye Injuries / surgery
  • Humans
  • Sclera / anatomy & histology
  • Sclera / cytology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Wound Healing