Laminins in normal, keratoconus, bullous keratopathy and scarred human corneas
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The laminin composition (LMα1-α5, β1–β3, γ1 and γ2 chains) of normal corneas and corneal buttons from keratoconus, bullous keratopathy (BKP), Fuchs’ dystrophy + BKP, Fuchs’ dystrophy without BKP and scar after deep lamellar keratoplasty (DLKP) was investigated with immunohistochemistry. The epithelial basement membranes (BMs) of both normal and diseased corneas contained LMα3, α5, β1, β3, γ1 and γ2 chains. The epithelial BM morphology was altered in the different diseases. Scarring was associated with irregular BM and ectopic stromal localization of different laminin chains. The Descemet’s membrane (DM) contained LMα5, β1 and γ1 chains in all cases and additionally LMβ3 and γ2 chains in the majority of keratoconus corneas. The interface in the DLKP cornea had patches of LMα3, α4, α5, β1 and β2 chains, and an extra BM-like structure under the Bowman’s membrane. These results suggest that laminin chains participate in the process of corneal scarring and in the pathogenesis of some corneal diseases. The novel finding of LMα3, β3 and γ2 in the DM of keratoconus buttons indicates that this membrane is also involved in the disease and that some cases of keratoconus may have a congenital origin, without normal downregulation of the LMβ3 chain.
KeywordsLaminin Cornea Human Keratoconus Basement membrane
The authors thank Margaretha Enerstedt for excellent technical assistance and professor Donald Gullberg, Bergen, Norway for kindly providing the hLN-α1G4/G5 ab.
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