Author(s): Desai VD, Wang Y, Simirskii VN, Duncan MK
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Abstract Hyaluronan is an oligosaccharide found in the pericellular matrix of numerous cell types and hyaluronan-induced signaling is known to facilitate fibrosis and cancer progression in some tissues. Hyaluronan is also commonly instilled into the eye during cataract surgery to protect the corneal endothelium from damage. Despite this, little is known about the distribution of hyaluronan or its receptors in the normal ocular lens. In this study, hyaluronan was found throughout the mouse lens, with apparently higher concentrations in the lens epithelium. CD44, a major cellular receptor for hyaluronan, is expressed predominately in mouse secondary lens fiber cells born from late embryogenesis into adulthood. Surgical removal of lens fiber cells from adult mice resulted in a robust upregulation of CD44 protein, which preceded the upregulation of alpha-smooth muscle actin expression typically used as a marker of epithelial-mesenchyma transition in this model of lens epithelial cell fibrosis. Mice lacking the CD44 gene had morphologically normal lenses with a response to lens fiber cell removal similar to wildtype, although they exhibited an increase in cell-associated hyaluronan. Overall, these data suggest that lens cells have a hyaluronan-containing pericellular matrix whose structure is partially regulated by CD44. Further, these data indicate that CD44 upregulation in the lens epithelium may be an earlier marker of lens injury responses in the mouse lens than the upregulation of alpha-smooth muscle actin. 2009 International Society of Differentiation. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Differentiation
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology