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Immunological Properties of Ocular Surface and Importance of Limbal Stem Cells for Transplantation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bakiah Shaharuddin, Dr Sajjad Ahmad, Dr Annette Meeson, Professor Simi Ali


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Cornea transplantation has been considered to be different from other solid organ transplantation because of the assumed immune-privileged state of the anterior chamber of the eye. Three major lines of thought regarding the molecular mechanisms of immune privilege in the eye are as follows: (a) anatomical, cellular, and molecular barriers in the eye; (b) anterior chamber-associated immune deviation; and (c) immunosuppressive microenvironment in the eye. However, cornea transplants suffer allograft rejection when breached by vascularization. In recent developments, cellular corneal transplantation from cultivated limbal epithelial cells has shown impressive advances as a future therapy. The limbal stem cell niche contains stem cells that promote proliferation and migration and have immunosuppressive mechanisms to protect them from immunological reactions. Limbal stem cells are also noted to display an enhanced expression of genes for the antiapoptotic proteins, a property that is imperative for the survival of transplanted tissues. Further investigation of the molecular mechanisms regulating the immune regulation of limbal stem cells is relevant in the clinical setting to promote the survival of whole corneal and limbal stem cell transplantation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ahmad S; Ali S; Meeson A; Shaharuddin B

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cells Translational Medicine

Year: 2013

Volume: 2

Issue: 8

Pages: 614-624

Print publication date: 01/07/2013

ISSN (print): 2157-6564

ISSN (electronic): 2157-6580



DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2012-0143