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Review
. 1994;28(2):1-64.
doi: 10.1016/s0079-6336(11)80033-1.

Cytological and Immunocytochemical Approaches to the Study of Corneal Endothelial Wound Repair

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Review

Cytological and Immunocytochemical Approaches to the Study of Corneal Endothelial Wound Repair

S R Gordon. Prog Histochem Cytochem. .

Abstract

The vertebrate corneal endothelium represents a unique model system for investigating many cellular aspects of wound repair within an organized tissue in situ. The tissue exists as a cell monolayer that resides upon its own natural basement membrane that can be prepared as a flat mount to observe the entire cell population. Thus, it readily avails itself to many cytological and immunocytochemical methods at both the light microscopic and ultrastructural levels. In addition, the tissue is easily explanted into organ culture where further investigations can be carried out. These techniques have enabled investigators to use many approaches to explore function and changes in response to injury. In vivo, the endothelium acts as a transport tissue to actively pump Na+ and bicarbonate ions from the corneal stroma into the aqueous humor to control corneal transparency. Physiological findings indicate that fluid diffuses back into the stroma, across the endothelium, and thus hydration is said to be controlled by a pump-leak mechanism. Ultrastructural investigations, some employing horseradish peroxidase and lanthanum, have established the morphological basis for this mechanism as apical focal junctions that are not the classical tight junctions and do not constitute a complete zona occludens. Along with these apical focal junctions are gap junctions that appear identical to their counterparts in other cell types. Cytochemical studies localized both Na+K(+)-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase, the main pump enzymes associated with corneal hydration, to the lateral plasma membranes. Corneal endothelial cells of noninjured tissue do not traverse the cell cycle and are considered to be in the "Go" phase of the cell cycle as determined by microfluorometric analysis with DNA binding dyes such as auramin O and pararosaniline-Feulgen. However, injury can initiate cell cycle transverse and histochemical and cytological methods have been used to understand the tissue's response. Classical histochemical studies revealed that increased staining was observed for metabolic (NADase and NADPase) and lysosomal enzymes in cells bordering the wound area. The use of radiolabelled agents has further lead to an understanding of the endothelial wound response. Autoradiographic analyses of 3H-actinomycin D incorporation indicated that injury initiates changes in chromatin leading to increased binding levels of the drug in cells surrounding the wound. This change suggests that those cells undergo heightened macromolecular synthesis and this was confirmed by examining 3H-uridine and 3H-thymidine incorporation. The major mechanism involved in corneal endothelial repair is cell migration. Cytochemical and immunocytochemical investigations have allowed investigators an opportunity to gain some insight into changes that occur during this cellular process.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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