Neuroanatomy Of Adult And Aging Chicken Cornea

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Current Eye Research


Purpose: To provide a complete nerve architecture and main sensory neuropeptide distribution in the chicken cornea. Methods: Adult chickens aged 6 months and 4 years were used. The whole cornea was stained with protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 antibody-a pan marker for nerve fibers, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and substance P (SP) antibodies; whole-mount images were acquired to build an entire view of corneal innervation. Relative corneal epithelial nerve fiber densities, including subbasal bundles and superficial terminals, were assessed by computer-assisted analysis. Results: An average of about 76.3 ± 5.7 (n = 8 corneas, 4 M/4F) stromal nerve trunks enter the cornea radially and are evenly distributed around the limbus with no significant difference between male and female chickens. The subbasal nerve bundles do not extend in a given direction and, as a result, do not form a vortex in the center of the cornea. Furthermore, the chicken cornea contains more SP-positive nerves than CGRP-positive nerves. It is also shown that aging significantly reduces corneal epithelial nerve density in chickens. Conclusions: This is the first study to provide a complete map of the entire corneal nerves and CGRP and SP sensory neuropeptide distribution in the adult chicken cornea. The findings show chicken corneal innervation has many differences to human and mammal cornea.

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