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An ultrastructural investigation into proteoglycan distribution in human corneas

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date07/1998
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


Purpose. We report an investigation into the distribution of proteoglycans (PGs) in normal, organ-cultured and dextran-treated human corneas. Methods. Immunogold labeling was carried out at the electron microscope level to localize keratan sulphate (KS), chondroitin sulphate(CS), and heparan sulphate (HS) PGs. Results, High levels of labeling for CS was found in the epithelium, endothelium, and keratocytes, with light labelling present in the basement membranes and the corneal stroma. Labeling for HS was present in the epithelium, endothelium, and keratocytes, with intense labeling present at the endothelium/Descemet's membrane interface and the epithelium/Bowman's layer interface. Large filaments were also observed in these regions in cuprolinic blue-stained specimens. Keratan sulphate was present at high levels in the stroma and the basement membranes with low levels present within the keratocytes, epithelium, and endothelium. The pattern of KS labeling along the collagen fibrils in the stroma sometimes showed evidence of periodicity. Organ-cultured corneas had extensive collagen-free "lakes," the interior of which immunolabeled positively for KS and showed staining with cuprolinic blue. The lakes were greatly reduced in the dextran-treated samples. Conclusion, This investigation determined the ultrastructural distribution of KS, CS, and HS PGs in human cornea and showed that organ culture is associated with a change in distribution of stromal PGs.