Identification and characterization of dendritic cell subtypes in preserved and cultured cadaveric human corneolimbal tissue on amniotic membrane

Acta Ophthalmol. 2019 Mar;97(2):e184-e193. doi: 10.1111/aos.13854. Epub 2018 Sep 4.


Purpose: Rejection is the leading cause of failure of limbal allogafts. Resident dendritic cell (DC) maturation plays a critical role in host allosensitization. There are two lineages: myeloid (mDC) and lymphoid (pDC), with different biological properties. The aim was to analyse the distribution of DC subtypes in limbal explant cultures on amniotic membrane (AM), cultivated on either the epithelial or stromal side and to compare the results with directly isolated cells from cadaveric whole corneoscleral tissue divided into specific areas.

Methods: The expression of CD11c (mDC), CD303/CD123 (pDC) and costimulatory molecules CD80, CD86 and activation markers HLA-DR, CD83 was investigated by flow cytometry. Additionally, the corneal epithelium marker CK12 and ABCB5, a new epithelial stem cell marker, were investigated.

Results: Cells positive for pDC and mDC markers were found in all examined areas, with a nonsignificant prevalence of pDC. In limbal explant cultures on AM, the percentage of pDC and mDC was similar, with no statistically significant difference between cultures on epithelial or stromal sides of AM. However, with ex vivo limbal explant cultivation on AM, the pDC content declined significantly (p < 0.05) and the ABCB5 marker was likewise statistically significantly reduced.

Conclusion: This is the first study to characterize the distribution of pDC and mDC subsets in cultured and noncultured human corneolimbal tissue. Additionally, ABCB5 positive cells were identified. These findings might be important for future strategies, allowing preparation of corneolimbal allografts with optimal stem cell content for a longer lasting therapeutic effect.

Keywords: cultivation; dendritic cells; limbal epithelial stem cells; myeloid dendritic cells; plasmacytoid dendritic cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amnion / cytology*
  • Cadaver
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelium, Corneal / cytology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Limbus Corneae / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Middle Aged