J Korean Ophthalmol Soc.  2024 Feb;65(2):98-107. 10.3341/jkos.2024.65.2.98.

Interactions of Corneal Endothelial Cells with Stromal Cells during Corneal Endothelial Injury

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


To investigate the interaction of corneal endothelial cells (CECs) with corneal stromal cells (CSCs) on the healing of chemically induced corneal endothelial injury.
Twenty-five rabbits were divided into two groups: rabbits exposed to NaOH and controls. Rabbits were clinically evaluated and sacrificed at 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks after endothelial injury. Corneal endothelial cells and corneal stromal cells were cultured and the wound healing rate of the corneal endothelium and cytokines in the culture medium were analyzed with and without co-culture in the Transwell system.
Corneal edema and opacity scores were higher in all rabbits exposed to NaOH than in controls. Corneal endothelial apoptosis with little effect on CSCs was observed in rabbits exposed to NaOH at day 1. Two weeks after injury, CECs migrated from the periphery. CSCs were aligned in parallel to Descemet's membrane, which exhibited the presence of CECs. Transforming factor-β1 and interleukin-6 secretion was lower in the co-culture system than in individual cultures of CECs or CSCs.
These results revealed intracameral NaOH injection is a model of corneal endothelial injury with minimal impact on the stroma. Communication between CECs and CSCs during wound healing may lead to the modulation of cytokine production, which is necessary for an enhanced healing process of corneal endothelial injury.


Cell-cell interaction, Corneal endothelial cell, Corneal endothelial wound healing, Corneal stromal cells, Cytokine
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