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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)