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Human corneal stromal cells (HCSCs), a type of resting neural crest mesenchymal cell, are highly specialized transparent tissues responsible for the secretion of stroma and play an important role in maintaining the transparency of the cornea and the normal visual function of human eye.Normally, corneal stromal cells are quiescent, flat and dendritic.After the cornea is stimulated by trauma, the corneal stromal cells will be activated, and the activated human corneal keratocytes (HCK) will turn to a repair phenotype, undergo apoptosis or transform to corneal fibroblast phenotype and myofibroblast phenotype.The phenotype transformation of HCSCs is closely related to the formation of scar tissue and the reduction of ocular transparency caused by the repair process of human corneal injury.In this article, three phenotypes, phenotypic markers, phenotype transformation and in vitro transformation mechanisms of HCSCs were reviewed, and it was found that corneal fibrosis could be inhibited by interfering with the transformation process of HCK to fibrotic phenotype and TGF-β/Smad signaling pathways.Therefore, in-depth study of the molecular mechanism of phenotypic transformation of HCSCs and the regulatory mechanism of intervention in corneal scarring formation is helpful for prevention and treatment of corneal fibrosis and postoperative corneal opacity in patients.
School of Basic Medicine, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan 750004, China
Key Laboratory of Ningxia Ethnomedicine Modernization, Ministry of Education, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan 750004, China
School of Pharmacy, Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan 750004, China