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Direct visualization of a stratified epithelium reveals that wounds heal by unified sliding of cell sheets.

Authors
  • Zhao, Min1
  • Song, Bing
  • Pu, Jin
  • Forrester, John V
  • McCaig, Colin D
  • 1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
The FASEB Journal
Publisher
Federation of American Society for Experimental Biology
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2003
Volume
17
Issue
3
Pages
397–406
Identifiers
PMID: 12631579
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Observing cells in their original niche is a key link between the information gleaned from planar culture and in vivo physiology and pathology. A new approach combining the transparency of the cornea, Hoffman modulation optics, and digital imaging allowed movements of individual corneal cells to be viewed directly in situ. 3-Dimensional time-lapse movies imaging unstained cells within the stratified corneal epithelium during wound healing were made. Tracking cell movements dynamically provided a definitive answer to the long-standing question: does a stratified epithelium heal by "sliding" of cell sheets as a coherent unit or do individual cells "leap frog" each other at the wound margin? A wound in the corneal epithelium healed primarily by sliding of the whole epithelium, with approximately 95% of cells moving with similar speed and trajectories and with little change in their relative position. Only 5% of cells changed layers, with equal proportions moving up or down. Epithelial healing in situ occurred in three phases: a latency, migration, and reconstruction phase. This model provides a unique system to study the behaviors of individual cells in their original niche. It shows that cells slide into a wound as a unified unit to heal a stratified epithelium.

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