In vivo immune cell dynamics in the human cornea

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Experimental Eye Research


In vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) allows the evaluation of the living human cornea at the cellular level. The non-invasive nature of this technique longitudinal, repeated examinations of the same tissue over time. Image analysis of two-dimensional time-lapse sequences of presumed immune cells with and without visible dendrites at the corneal sub-basal nerve plexus in the eyes of healthy individuals was performed. We demonstrated evidence that cells without visible dendrites are highly dynamic and move rapidly in the axial directions. A number of dynamic cells were observed and measured from three eyes of different individuals. The total average displacement and trajectory speeds of three cells without visible dendrites (N = 9) was calculated to be 1.12 ± 0.21 and 1.35 ± 0.17 μm per minute, respectively. One cell with visible dendrites per cornea was also analysed. Tracking dendritic cell dynamics in vivo has the potential to significantly advance the understanding of the human immune adaptive and innate systems. The ability to observe and quantify migration rates of immune cells in vivo is likely to reveal previously unknown insights into corneal and general pathophysiology and may serve as an effective indicator of cellular responses to intervention therapies.

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