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A Human Corneal Epithelial Cell Line Model for LimbalStem Cell Biology and Limbal Immunobiology

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



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Limbal stemcell (LSC) deficiency is a visually debilitating condition caused by abnormal maintenance ofLSCs. It is treated by transplantation of donor-derived limbal epithelial cells (LECs), the success of whichdependsonthepresenceandqualityof LSCs withinthe transplant.Understanding theimmunobiologicalresponses of these cells within the transplants could improve cell engraftment and survival. However,human corneal rings used as a source of LSCs are not always readily available for research purposes. Asan alternative, we hypothesized that a human telomerase-immortalized corneal epithelial cell (HTCEC)line could be used as a model for studying LSC immunobiology. HTCEC constitutively expressed humanleukocyte antigen (HLA) class I but not class II molecules. However, when stimulated by interferon-g,HTCECs then expressed HLA class II antigens. Some HTCECs were also migratory in response to CXCL12and expressed stem cell markers, Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2. In addition because both HTCECs and LECscontain side population (SP) cells,which are an enriched LSC population,we used these SP cells to showthat some HTCEC SP cells coexpressed ABCG2 and ABCB5. HTCEC SP and non-side population (NSP) cellsalso expressed CXCR4, but the SP cells expressed higher levels. Both were capable of colony formation,but the NSP colonies were smaller and contained fewer cells. In addition, HTCECs expressed DNp63a.Theseresults suggest theHTCECline isa usefulmodel for furtherunderstanding LSCbiologybyusinganinvitro approach without reliance on a supply of human tissue.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shaharuddin B, Ahmad S, MdLatar N, Ali S, Meeson A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Stem Cells Translational Medicine

Year: 2017

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Pages: 761-766

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 14/10/2016

Acceptance date: 01/09/2016

Date deposited: 17/10/2016

ISSN (print): 2157-6564

ISSN (electronic): 2157-6580

Publisher: AlphaMed Press, Inc


DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2016-0175


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