Existence of slow-cycling limbal epithelial basal cells that can be preferentially stimulated to proliferate: Implications on epithelial stem cells

George Cotsarelis*, Shih Zen Cheng, Gang Dong, Tung Tien Sun, Robert M. Lavker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1074 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the obvious importance of epithelial stem cells in tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis, little is known about their specific location or biological characteristics. Using 3H-thymidine labeling, we have identified a subpopulation of corneal epithelial basal cells, located in the peripheral cornea in a region called limbus, that are normally slow cycling, but can be stimulated to proliferate in response to wounding and to a tumor promotor, TPA. No such cells can be detected in the central corneal epithelium, suggesting that corneal epithelial stem cells are located in the limbus. A comparison of various types of epithelial stem cells revealed a common set of features, including their preferred location, pigment protection, and growth properties, which presumably play a crucial role in epithelial stem cell function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalCell
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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