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Expression of vimentin by rabbit corneal epithelial cells during wound repair

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Summary

Intermediate filaments of epithelial cells generally consist of specific combinations of keratins. However, cultured epithelial cells from certain tissues and some epithelial tumors have been shown also to express vimentin. In the present study, the expression of vimentin by epithelial cells in healing corneal wounds (partial thickness penetrating wounds) and in tissue culture was analyzed. Both immunohistochemical and immunotransblot analyses indicated that although vimentin was not detected in the normal rabbit corneal epithelium in vivo, cultured rabbit corneal epithelial cells co-express keratins and vimentin. At 1 day post-wounding, vimentin was not detectable in the epithelial cells that had covered the denuded stroma. However, at 2 days post-wounding, the epithelium at the base of the epithelial plug immunoreacted with both anti-vimentin and antikeratin monoclonal antibodies. Immunotransblot analyses of the extracts of the epithelial plugs confirmed the presence of vimentin (Mr=58k). The 58k band was not detected in the extract of normal rabbit corneal epithelium. At day/5, vimentin was no longer detectable in the epithelium. This study demonstrated that corneal epithelial cells transiently co-express vimentin and keratins in vivo during wound healing and in tissue culture. The time-course of the transient expression of vimentin suggests that the vimentin expression in the epithelial cells during healing is not linked to cell proliferation or to the centripetal migration of the epithelium during early stages (first 24 h) of healing, but may be linked to cell-matrix interactions or the migration of basal cells in the upward direction at the following stage of healing.

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SundarRaj, N., Rizzo, J.D., Anderson, S.C. et al. Expression of vimentin by rabbit corneal epithelial cells during wound repair. Cell Tissue Res 267, 347–356 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00302973

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00302973

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