Compositional Differences between Infant and Adult Human Corneal Basement Membranes

Kabosova A., Azar D.T., Bannikov G.A., Campbell K.P, Durbeej M., Ghohestani R.F., Jones J.C.R, Kenney M.C, Koch M., Ninomiya Y., Patton B.L., Paulsson M., Sado Y., Sage E.H., Sasaki T., Sorokin L.M., Steiner-Champliaud M-F, Sun T-T, SundarRaj N., Timpl R., Virtanen I., Ljubimov A.V.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007

The purpose of the study was to identify changes in the human corneal epithelial basement membrane (EBM) and Descemet’s membrane (DM) during postnatal corneal development. 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 α2 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. 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.