Extracellular Vesicles and Cell-Cell Communication in the Cornea

Citation:

Zieske JD, Hutcheon AEK, Guo X. Extracellular Vesicles and Cell-Cell Communication in the Cornea. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2020;303(6):1727-1734.

Date Published:

2020 Jun

Abstract:

One question that has intrigued cell biologists for many years is, "How do cells interact to influence one another's activity?" The discovery of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and the fact that they carry cargo, which directs cells to undergo changes in morphology and gene expression, has revolutionized this field of research. Little is known regarding the role of EVs in the cornea; however, we have demonstrated that EVs isolated from corneal epithelial cells direct corneal keratocytes to initiate fibrosis. Intriguingly, our data suggest that EVs do not penetrate epithelial basement membrane (BM), perhaps providing a mechanism explaining the importance of BM in the lack of scarring in scrape wounds. Since over 100-million people worldwide suffer from visual impairment as a result of corneal scarring, the role of EVs may be vital to understanding the mechanisms of wound repair. Therefore, we investigated EVs in ex vivo and in vivo-like three-dimensional cultures of human corneal cells using transmission electron microscopy. Some of the major findings were all three major cell types (epithelial, fibroblast, and endothelial cells) appear to release EVs, EVs can be identified using TEM, and EVs appeared to be involved in cell-cell communication. Interestingly, while our previous publication suggests that EVs do not penetrate the epithelial BM, it appears that EVs penetrate the much thicker endothelial BM (Descemet's membrane). These findings indicate the huge potential of EV research in the cornea and wound healing, and suggest that during homeostasis the endothelium and stromal cells are in communication. Anat Rec, 2019. © 2019 The Authors. The Anatomical Record published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Anatomists.

See also: Cornea, June 2020, All, 2020
Last updated on 06/30/2020