Three dimensional culture of potential epithelial progenitor cells in human lacrimal gland

Hui Lin, Ying Liu, Samuel Yiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We investigate human lacrimal gland tissue to determine the presence of progenitor cells in this adult human tissue. Methods: Six human lacrimal gland tissues from donors were collected and stored immediately in the culture medium at 48C until the next procedure. One part of the lacrimal gland tissue was prepared for immunofluorescence staining and the other part was prepared for primary cell culture. Immunofluorescence analysis was conducted to evaluate cultured lacrimal epithelial phenotype and progenitor cell markers for five passages. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to assess proliferation markers in the different passages. Three-dimensional culture and PCR were conducted to determine the differentiation potential of cultured human lacrimal gland cells. Results: Human lacrimal gland tissue expressed a number of epithelial progenitor cell markers. Precursor cell markers C-Kit, K15, Nestin, and P63 were observed in lacrimal gland tissues. Lacrimal gland epithelial cells were cultured successfully and passaged to P5. The cultured lacrimal gland epithelial cells were positive for pan-cytokeratin (PCK), AQP5, Rab3D, ABCB5, C-kit, K15, Ki67, and P63. Human lacrimal gland cells could form spheroids in vitro and then grow into mini-gland-like structures. PCR results showed proliferation and differentiation capability of those cultured cells. Conclusions: Human lacrimal gland tissues contain precursor marker-positive cells and marker expression also was detected in ex vivo cultured cells, which showed differentiation capability. Translational Relevance: Future studies of differentiation in human lacrimal gland tissue may aid in developing stem cell-based therapies for dry eye disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number32
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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