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Adult Corneal Stem Cells and Alternative Sources for Regenerative Therapy for the Cornea: An Update

Ladan Espandar, MD, MS1, Mohammad F Pathan, MD1, and Natalie A Afshari, MD, FACS2

The cornea is a major protective barrier and the source of the refractive power of the eye. It consists of three layers that have different embryonic origins: the epithelial layer develops from the surface ectoderm, whereas the stroma and the endothelium originate from neural crest cells (mesenchymal tissue)[1]. Experimental studies have shown that diverse types of stem cell are located in each layer[2–4].

In the past few years, intensive research has focused on corneal stem cells as a source of regenerative cell-based therapy. This article is an update of our previous review of the current knowledge on corneal epithelial, stromal, and endothelial stem cells, as well as alternative sources of stem cells, in regenerative therapy for the cornea[5].

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