PURPOSE. To determine whether polyamines are present in corneal cells, whether corneal cell polyamines can be depleted by blocking the first rate-limiting enzyme in the polyamine synthesis pathway, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), and whether polyamines are required for proliferation in all three corneal cell types. METHODS. Cultured corneal epithelial cells, keratocytes, and endothelial cells were exposed to the specific ODC blocker difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), and ODC activity, intracellular polyamine concentrations, and cell proliferation were measured. RESULTS. DFMO blocked ODC activity in a dose- and time-dependent manner in all three cell types. DFMO treatment completely depleted putrescine and spermidine by 2 days and also significantly depleted spermine. DFMO treatment also inhibited cell growth in all three cell types and this inhibition could be completely reversed by adding exogenous putrescine to the culture medium. CONCLUSIONS. Polyamines are present in all cell types of the cornea, their formation is catalyzed at least in part by ODC, and they are an important component of corneal cell proliferation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience