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Dev Biol July 1, 1997; 187 (1): 13-24.

Lens regeneration in larval Xenopus laevis: experimental analysis of the decline in the regenerative capacity during development.

Filoni S , Bernardini S , Cannata SM , D'Alessio A .

In Xenopus laevis, the capacity to regenerate a new lens from the outer cornea gradually decreases between stages 50 and 58, is almost negligible during the metamorphic climax, and disappears after metamorphosis. The factors responsible for lens transdifferentiation of the outer cornea are produced by the neural retina and are located in the vitreous chamber. This decrease in the regenerative capacity may be due to: (1) a reduction of the inductive power of the retina, (2) a reduction of lens-forming competence of the outer cornea, (3) an inhibition of the lens transdifferentiation process, (4) a combination of these causes. In order to test these hypotheses, fragments of outer cornea or of outer and inner corneas joined together were isolated from early larvae, late larvae and froglets, and implanted into the eye of host larvae during the premetamorphosis or the metamorphic climax. Results from implants of outer cornea into the vitreous chamber showed that the drop in lens regeneration capacity during the metamorphic climax is not due to a decrease in the inductive power of the retinal factor and that the gradual decrease in the regenerative capacity observed between stages 50 and 58 is not related to a substantial diminution in the capacity of outer cornea cells to transdifferentiate into lens fibers. Results from implants of outer and inner corneas joined together showed that in these implants the lens transdifferentiation of the outer cornea was partially inhibited. These findings indicate that the decrease in lens regeneration is mainly due to an inhibition of the lens transdifferentiation process of the outer cornea by the inner cornea. However, even implants of cornea (multilayered epithelium and substantia propria) excised from metamorphosed animals were able to form lens fibers, although to a lesser percentage than that obtained after implantation of fragments of larval outer and inner corneas. Thus, the lens-forming competence in the corneal epithelium is still present to a certain degree even when lens regeneration capacity is lost. Several observations suggest that in the lentectomized eye of late larvae and froglets the mechanical inhibition of lens transdifferentiation process exerted by the inner cornea (or the substantia propria), due to the rapid formation of a connective barrier against the spreading of the retinal factor toward the outer cornea, has a decisive role in maintaining the phenotypic stability of the outer cornea.

PubMed ID: 9224670
Article link: Dev Biol

Antibodies: Lens Ab2

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