ADVERTISEMENT

How Does The Cornea Signal For Help In Wound Healing?

The cornea is the first part of the eye that the light enters to allow us to see. It also acts as a barrier against the external environment, so it is very susceptible to wounding and injury. Given that improper wound healing in the cornea is the fourth-highest cause of preventable blindness according to the World Health Organization, wound healing in the cornea is an important subject of study. Furthermore, common diseases like type-2 diabetes can hinder this process, and it has been an increasing healthcare concern in the U.S. Our goal was to study the mechanism of how the cornea signals to the epithelium for wound healing.

In our past studies, we reported that when the cornea is wounded through scratch-wounding, ATP is released from the injured cells as a signaling molecule. This ATP stimulates two cell receptors, P2X7 and P2Y2, which generate Ca2+ signaling. This pathway was found to be important in mediating the wound healing process. The wound healing process coordinates all the epithelial cells in the cornea to move as a unit, suggesting that there is communication between cells that occur during the process. However, the behavior of this Ca2+ in the cornea cells has not been fully characterized.

ADVERTISEMENT

The goal of our study was to develop a computer program system to identify and characterize the Ca2+ cell-cell communication in the cornea. We used MATLAB to do this, and we were able to characterize the different Ca2+ signaling patterns in P2X7 and P2Y2. The presence of Ca2+ signaling in adjacent cells were also seen to be directly associated with changes in cell shape and movement. Overall, the cells at the front of the wound acted like “leader cells” that initiated the cell movement needed for wound healing. We were able to show this in both corneal cell lines and in mouse cornea tissue. Together, our results demonstrate that these Ca2+ signals are a vital component in regulating the long-term response to injury in the cornea.

Figure republished with permission from PLOS from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213422

These series of images show how Ca2+ signaling between cells correlate with changes in cell shape and movement. The corneal epithelial cells were preincubated with a membrane dye (in orange) and a Ca2+ indicator dye (cyan) to visualize the cells. The injury was made by scratch-wounding (indicated in asterisks) and cells that exhibited Ca2+ signals (active cells, first row) showed drastic changes in cell motility and cell shape compared to cells that did not have those mobilizations (inactive cells, second row). The same cells were tracked by outlining them over time (third and fourth row) to observe the changes.

These findings are described in the article entitled Sustained Ca2+ mobilizations: A quantitative approach to predict their importance in cell-cell communication and wound healing, recently published in the journal PLOS One.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

The Performance Of A Vanadium Redox Flow Battery With Non-Uniformly Compressed Electrodes

Electrical energy storage technologies are an important solution for a mismatched problem between the distributed intermittent power generation (like solar […]

Sources Of Risk And Uncertainty In Deploying Smart Grids

Future electricity networks will have to become smarter, but how, and is it a free lunch? “The smart grid” is […]

Molecules In Space: Physics, Chemistry And Biology

The collaboration between spectroscopists and astrophysicists initiated in the 18th century with the purpose of assigning the Fraunhofer lines in […]

How Mobile Phones Represent Your Social Network

Mobile phones have quickly become a fundamental part of our life and, thus, an important element of our culture. As […]

Predicting Growth In Cancer Stem Cells

Cancer is a frightening and thorny adversary. Therapies to battle human cancer are frequently harsh with debilitating side effects. But […]

Sound Energy: Definition And Examples

Sound energy is the energy released by the vibration of objects, and measured in a unit called joules. Sound is […]

Liquid Metal Activated Al-Water Reaction: A New Approach Leading To “Hy-Time”

When it comes to hydrogen production, people think of the electrolysis or photolysis of water. However, in these processes, the […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?