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Differences in the TGF-{beta}1-induced profibrotic response of anterior and posterior corneal keratocytes in vitro.

Investigative ophthalmology & visual science (2009-11-13)
Holly B Hindman, Jennifer N Swanton, Richard P Phipps, Patricia J Sime, Krystel R Huxlin
ABSTRACT

Purpose. To characterize phenotypic differences between anterior and posterior corneal keratocytes after stimulation with the profibrotic agent transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) in vitro. Methods. Sixteen corneas from healthy felines were obtained immediately after death. Lamellar dissection was performed to separate the anterior and posterior stroma at approximately 50% depth either manually (n = 2) or with a Moria microkeratome (300-mum head; n = 14). Cells from the anterior and posterior stroma were cultured separately but under identical conditions. Using immunohistochemistry and Western blot techniques, Ki-67 staining and relative expression of Thy-1, alpha smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), and fibronectin were assessed after stimulation with different TGF-beta1 concentrations. In addition, anterior and posterior cells cultured in different concentrations of TGF-beta1 were wounded with a razor blade, and the wound area and time to closure were determined. Results. Stimulation by all concentrations of TGF-beta1 increased the proportion of Ki-67-positive cells in anterior and posterior cell cultures, but this increase was noted earlier in posterior cells than in anterior cells. Increasing TGF-beta1 concentration also increased the relative expression of Thy-1, alpha-SMA, and fibronectin in anterior and posterior fibroblasts. However, anterior cells expressed these fibrotic markers at lower TGF-beta1 concentrations than did posterior keratocytes. After mechanical wounding, posterior cells closed the wound area faster than did anterior cells at all concentrations of TGF-beta1. Conclusions. The present experiments show that anterior and posterior corneal keratocytes exhibit different sensitivities to the profibrotic growth factor TGF-beta1. This heterogeneity of keratocyte response may impact wound closure after mechanical wounding.

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Anti-Actin, α-Smooth Muscle antibody, Mouse monoclonal, clone 1A4, purified from hybridoma cell culture