The development of the avian corneal stroma occurs in discrete developmental stages. During this sequence of events, the neural crest-derived corneal fibroblast precursor cells are surrounded by distinct extracellular matrices which change both spatially and temporally. To elucidate the role of these matrices, extracellular matrix components in the periocular mesenchyme and cornea were analysed prior to and during migration and differentiation of corneal fibroblasts using antibodies against collagens, proteoglycans and glycoproteins. Previous work has concentrated on the matrix of the corneal stroma rather than the matrix of the periocular mesenchyme. Since the precursors of the corneal fibroblasts are present within and must migrate through the periocular mesenchyme prior to entry into the cornea proper, this environment was fully evaluated. The present study documents the matrix composition of both the cornea and periocular mesenchyme at developmental stages that are prior to and after initiation of corneal invasion by the corneal fibroblast precursors. Variations in matrix molecules comprising both the periocular mesenchyme and cornea were demonstrated. These include changes in the distribution of collagen types I, II, III, IV and VI; the proteoglycans decorin and lumican; as well as the adhesive glycoproteins tenascin, fibronectin and laminin. It is hypothesized that the variations in matrix localization are important in the regulation of cell migration and differentiation during normal corneal development. Any regulation is likely to involve a combination of components found in the extracellular matrices and therefore, a consideration of the matrix rather than isolated components is required.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience