The interactions between rabbit corneal epithelium and endothelium were investigated in an organ culture model using scanning electron microscopy and correlative light microscopy. Following mechanical removal of corneal endothelium, corneal epithelium was observed to migrate across the cut surface of the corneal stroma and onto the denuded Descemet's membrane after 48 hours in organ culture. By 72 hours, a distinct line of contact between the migrated epithelium and endothelium was established. Following epithelialendothelial contact, no cellular migration occurred. Corneal endothelial inhibition of epithelial migration may be a major factor in the prevention of surface epithelial invasion and proliferation following surgery and trauma.
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