96th DOG Annual Meeting, 1998



L. You, F.E. Kruse, J. Pohl

Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-b ) is one of the most important cytokines in the human cornea. There is however a large group of proteins with high structural homology to TGF-b . Among these proteins are bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP). We have investigated the expression of these proteins in the human cornea.

Method: Following computer-based sequence alignment primers were designed specific for BMP-2,3,4,5 and 7. Both native and cultured corneal epithelium and stroma was investigated. Following mRNA isolation and cDNA transcription PCR was carried out using primers specific for the BMP’s. Reaction products were cloned and sequenced.

Results: Both corneal epithelial and stromal cells from ex vivo and from cell cultures expressed BMP-2 and 4 as well as BMP- 5 and 7 and 3. Blast search reconfirmed that cloned sequences were corresponding to published sequences.

Discussion: Our results show that BMP’s are transcribed in the corneal epithelium and stroma. Although the functional significance of these findings has to be confirmed there are interesting data suggesting a role for BMP s in the corneal cytokine network. BMP’s are important morphogens during embryonic development and knock-out mice carry severe ocular malformations. These findings further strengthen the role TGF-ß family members in the cornea.

Augenklinik der Universität Heidelberg, INF 400, D-69120 Heidelberg and Biopharm GmbH, D-69120 Heidelberg