The non-uniform distribution of albumin in human and bovine cornea

Exp Eye Res. 1997 Dec;65(6):747-56. doi: 10.1006/exer.1997.0382.


In our previous studies, we noted a non-uniform distribution of protein tracer preferentially entering the anterior stromal lamellae of the cornea from the limbus. Given other differences reported previously between the anterior and posterior lamellae of the cornea, and the number of corneal disorders in which abnormalities are preferentially confined to either the anterior or posterior lamellae, we were prompted to examine the distribution of albumin in normal human and bovine cornea. The distribution of albumin in bovine and human cornea was studied immunohistochemically. Total soluble protein and albumin in the anterior 1/3 and posterior 2/3 of the central, middle and peripheral cornea of bovine eyes was measured biochemically. To aid in interpreting the findings, a theoretical model was developed based upon the combined effects of diffusive and convective transport. Using immunohistochemical methods, in both bovine and human eyes, intense staining of albumin was found in the anterior 1/3 of the corneal stroma. There was a gradual reduction in staining intensity from the limbus to the central cornea in the anterior corneal stroma. Less staining was found in the posterior 2/3 of corneal stroma. Additionally, a greater concentration of soluble protein and albumin was found in the anterior stroma than in the posterior stroma of the bovine eyes by biochemical analyses. The theoretical model demonstrated that this distribution of protein required a difference in excluded volume fraction between the anterior and posterior stroma and was consistent with a convective flux originating at the limbus and passing through the corneal stroma. The soluble proteins of the bovine and human cornea are preferentially concentrated in the anterior cornea and near the limbus. This distribution is likely due to differences in excluded volume fraction between the anterior and posterior stroma and a small convective flux passing through the cornea.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cattle
  • Cornea / chemistry*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry


  • Albumins