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An accurate identification of telocytes (TCs) was limited because of the heterogeneity of cell types expressing the markers attributed to TCs. Some endothelial lineage cells also could fit within the pattern of TCs. Such endothelial cells could line conjunctival lacunae previously assessed by laser confocal microscopy. We have been suggested that an accurate distinction of TCs from endothelial cells in the human eye conjunctiva could be achieved by use of CD31, CD34 and D2-40 (podoplanin); and that the conjunctival lacunae are in fact lymphatic. We aimed as testing the hypothesis by an immunohistochemical study on human eye conjunctiva biopsy samples. Samples of human eye conjunctiva from 30 patients were evaluated immunohistochemically by use of the primary antibodies: CD34, D2-40 and CD31. D2-40 was equally expressed within epithelia and laminae propria. Basal epithelial cells were D2-40 positive. Within the stromal compartment, the lymphatic marker D2-40 labelled several lymphatic vessels. CD31 labelled both vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells within the lamina propria. When capillary lymphatics were tangentially cut, they gave the false appearance of telocytes. Blood endothelial cells expressed CD34, whereas lymphatic endothelial cells did not. Stromal CD34-expressing cells/telocytes were found building a consistent pan-stromal network which was equally CD31-negative and D2-40-negative. The conjunctival lymphatic lacunae seem to represent a peculiar anatomic feature of eye conjunctiva. They are embedded within a CD34-expressing stromal network of TCs. The negative expression of CD31 and D2-40 should be tested when discriminating CD34-expressing TCs. © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Mihnea I Nicolescu, Mugurel C Rusu, Liliana M Voinea, Alexandra D Vrapciu, Raluca I Bâră. Lymphatic lacunae of the human eye conjunctiva embedded within a stroma containing CD34+ telocytes. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. 2020 Aug;24(15):8871-8875

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PMID: 32578954

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