The Potential Reversible Transition between Stem Cells and Transient-Amplifying Cells: The Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Perspective

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2024-04-25

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Abstract

Stem cells (SCs) undergo asymmetric division, producing transit-amplifying cells (TACs) with increased proliferative potential that move into tissues and ultimately differentiate into a specialized cell type. Thus, TACs represent an intermediary state between stem cells and differentiated cells. In the cornea, a population of stem cells resides in the limbal region, named the limbal epithelial stem cells (LESCs). As LESCs proliferate, they generate TACs that move centripetally into the cornea and differentiate into corneal epithelial cells. Upon limbal injury, research suggests a population of progenitor-like cells that exists within the cornea can move centrifugally into the limbus, where they dedifferentiate into LESCs. Herein, we summarize recent advances made in understanding the mechanism that governs the differentiation of LESCs into TACs, and thereafter, into corneal epithelial cells. We also outline the evidence in support of the existence of progenitor-like cells in the cornea and whether TACs could represent a population of cells with progenitor-like capabilities within the cornea. Furthermore, to gain further insights into the dynamics of TACs in the cornea, we outline the most recent findings in other organ systems that support the hypothesis that TACs can dedifferentiate into SCs.

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Citation

Cells 13 (9): 748 (2024)