Gap junctional communication in the human corneal endothelium and epithelium

K. Keven Williams, Mitchell A. Watsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose. Gap junctional communication in the epithelium and endothelium of human corneas was studied. The influence of corneal storage on endothelial gap junctions was also examined. Methods. Donor human corneal cells were injected with carboxyfluorescein while surrounding cells were monitored for traces of fluorescence. Dye-spread coefficients were measured in corneal endothelial cells. Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis of the endothelium and epithelium was employed to determine if connexin 43 was present. Results. Dye coupling occurs in both the epithelium and endothelium of the human cornea. Epithelial dye coupling was extensive in the basal layers but less apparent in the superficial layers. Endothelial dye coupling was similar to that reported for rabbit corneas. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated the presence of connexin 43 in both cell types. Conclusions. Gap junctional communication occurs in the endothelium and epithelium of human corneas, and both cell types express connexin 43. These results are similar to previous rabbit studies, thereby strengthening the use of the rabbit cornea as a gap junction model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Connexin
  • Corneal endothelium
  • Corneal epithelium
  • Corneal storage
  • Gap junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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