Development of new cornea endothelial cell lines provides powerful tool for understanding corneal cell biology

Human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnCs) form a monolayer of hexagonal cells whose main function is to maintain corneal clarity by regulating corneal hydration. Cell loss due to aging or corneal endothelial disorders, such as Fuchs dystrophy, can lead to cornea edema and blindness, resulting in the need for cornea transplants.

Studying human corneal endothelium has been difficult for because limited systems exist and have significant drawbacks. The major drawback is that HCEnC do not divide and there is a limited source of these cells both for patient transplantation and for study in the laboratory. This field of study is now easier.

Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear, have developed of HCENC-21 and HCEnC-21T, two novel model systems for human corneal endothelium. Their findings, Telomerase Immortalization of Human Corneal Endothelial Cells Yield Functional Hexagonal Monolayers, are online in the .

A research team led by Ula Jurkunas, M.D., developed first-of their kind model systems for human corneal endothelium.

"These models mimic very well the critical characteristics and functionalities known from the tissue in the eye," Dr. Jurkunas said. "They also fulfill essential technical requirements, e.g. indefinite number of and a high rate of cell division, to be a powerful tool. They will enable cell biologists to more reliably study human corneal endothelium in health and disease. The ability to enhance HCEnC cell self renewal and growth opens a new window of development of novel regenerative therapies for corneal swelling, hopefully reducing the need for in the future."

More information: www.plosone.org/article/info%3… journal.pone.0051427

Related Stories

The role of stem cells in renewing the cornea

Oct 02, 2008

A group of researchers in Switzerland has published a study appearing in the Oct 1 advance online edition of the Journal Nature that shows how the cornea uses stem cells to repair itself.

Engineered cornea more resistant to chemical injury

May 28, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study from the University of Reading has established that a prosthetic cornea made from human cells is the best model for testing how irritants and toxins cause eye injuries.

Recommended for you

iPads detect early signs of glaucoma in Nepal eye screening

Oct 20, 2014

Using a tablet screening app could prove to be an effective method to aid in the effort to reduce the incidence of avoidable blindness in populations at high-risk for glaucoma with limited access to health care, according ...

Could reading glasses soon be a thing of the past?

Oct 19, 2014

A thin ring inserted into the eye could soon offer a reading glasses-free remedy for presbyopia, the blurriness in near vision experienced by many people over the age of 40, according to a study released today at AAO 2014, ...

User comments