Compositional differences between infant and adult human corneal basement membranes

Andrea Kabosova, Dimitri T. Azar, Gregory A. Bannikov, Kevin P. Campbell, Madeleine Durbeej, Reza F. Ghohestani, Jonathan C.R. Jones, M. Cristina Kenney, Manuel Koch, Yoshifumi Ninomiya, Bruce L. Patton, Mats Paulsson, Yoshikazu Sado, E. Helene Sage, Takako Sasaki, Lydia M. Sorokin, Marie France Steiner-Champliaud, Tung Tien Sun, Nirmala SundarRaj, Rupert TimplIsmo Virtanen, Alexander V. Ljubimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Adult human corneal epithelial basement membrane (EBM) and Descemet's membrane (DM) components exhibit heterogeneous distribution. The purpose of the study was to identify changes of these components during postnatal corneal development. METHODS. Thirty healthy adult corneas and 10 corneas from 12-day- to 3-year-old children were studied by immunofluorescence with antibodies against BM components. RESULTS. Type IV collagen composition of infant corneal central EBM over Bowman's layer changed from α1-α2 to α3-α4 chains after 3 years of life; in the adult, α1-α2 chains were retained only in the limbal BM. Laminin α1 and β2 chains were present in the adult limbal BM where epithelial stem cells are located. By 3 years of age, β2 chain appeared in the limbal BM. In all corneas, limbal BM contained laminin γ3 chain. In the infant DM, type IV collagen α1-α6 chains, perlecan, nidogen-1, nidogen-2, and netrin-4 were found on both faces, but they remained only on the endothelial face of the adult DM. The stromal face of the infant but not the adult DM was positive for tenascin-C, fibrillin-1, SPARC, and laminin-332. Type VIII collagen shifted from the endothelial face of infant DM to its stromal face in the adult. Matrilin-4 largely disappeared after the age of 3 years. CONCLUSIONS. The distribution of laminin γ3 chain, nidogen-2, netrin-4, matrilin-2, and matrilin-4 is described in the cornea for the first time. The observed differences between adult and infant corneal BMs may relate to changes in their mechanical strength, corneal cell adhesion and differentiation in the process of postnatal corneal maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4989-4999
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Compositional differences between infant and adult human corneal basement membranes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this