RNA-Seq analysis and comparison of corneal epithelium in keratoconus and myopia patients
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Scientific Reports, 2018, 8 (1)
- Issue Date:
© 2017 The Author(s). Keratoconus is a common degenerative corneal disease that can lead to significant visual morbidity, and both genetic and environmental factors have been implicated in its pathogenesis. We compared the transcriptome of keratoconus and control epithelium using RNA-Seq. Epithelial tissues were obtained prior to surgery from keratoconus and myopia control patients, undergoing collagen cross-linking and photorefractive keratectomy, respectively. We identified major differences in keratoconus linked to cell-cell communication, cell signalling and cellular metabolism. The genes associated with the Hedgehog, Wnt and Notch1 signaling pathways were down-regulated in keratoconus. We also identified plasmolipin and Notch1 as being significantly reduced in keratoconus for both gene and protein expression (p < 0.05). Plasmolipin is a novel protein identified in human corneal epithelium, and has been demonstrated to have a key role in epithelial cell differentiation in other tissues. This study shows altered gene and protein expression of these three proteins in keratoconus, and further studies are clearly warranted to confirm the functional role of these proteins in the pathogenesis of keratoconus.
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