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Identification of Circulating Fibrocytes and Dendritic Derivatives in Corneal Endothelium of Patients With Fuchs' Dystrophy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Olivier GovaereORCiD



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


PURPOSE. Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a degenerative eye disorder affecting 4% of Americans older than 40. It is the leading indication for corneal endothelial (CE) transplantation for which there is a global donor shortage. This study aimed to gain further insight into the pathophysiology of FECD and identify targets for nonsurgical therapy.METHODS. CE from patients with late-onset FECD was compared with that of normal controls using microarray expression analysis (n = 4 FECD, n = 4 normal), reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (n = 9 FECD, n = 8 normal), and immunohistology (n = 55 FECD, n = 15 normal).RESULTS. This led to the identification of circulating fibrocytes and their dendritic derivatives in all examined CE samples with FECD (in all clinical stages of symptomatic FECD and independent of prior cataract surgery). These cells were not present in normal CE. In this study we characterize their morphology, protein expression profile, number, and localization within the CE layer of patients with FECD.CONCLUSIONS. Circulating fibrocytes and their dendritic derivatives are a new aspect of FECD that deserves further investigation. Because they are known to cause fibrosis in a variety of organs, they may play a similar role in FECD and might be a valuable target for nonsurgical therapy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): De Roo AK, Wouters J, Govaere O, Foets B, van den Oord JJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

Year: 2017

Volume: 58

Issue: 1

Pages: 670-681

Print publication date: 01/01/2017

Acceptance date: 19/12/2016

Date deposited: 30/03/2017

ISSN (print): 0146-0404

ISSN (electronic): 1552-5783

Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


DOI: 10.1167/iovs.16-20880


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Funder referenceFunder name
Flemish government
11C7515NResearch Foundation-Flanders
EFW-FOPRD1-O2010Perdaens Fund Eye Research (Belgium)
EMH-COR-NEA-03200Fund for Research in Ophthalmology (Belgium)
FMH-CORNE2-03200Fund for Research in Ophthalmology (Belgium)