Ultrastructural and immunohistological characterization of the SIRC corneal cell line

J. Y. Niederkorn, D. R. Meyer, J. E. Ubelaker, J. H. Martin

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50 Scopus citations


A widely utilized rabbit corneal cell line, SIRC, was characterized ultrastructurally and immunohistologically. Although SIRC cells are often described as being of epithelial origin, important ultrastructural and antigenic characteristics indicate that these cells are fibroblastic and not epithelial. SIRC cells lack desmosomes, cytoplasmic filaments, and cytokeratin-structures that are characteristic of corneal epithelial cells. By contrast, the dendritic morphology, presence of vimentin, and the extensive dense accumulations of ribosomes and rough endoplasmic reticulum are consistent with a fibroblastic phenotype. Collectively, the morphology, ultrastructural features, and antigenic composition favor the hypothesis that SIRC cells are fibroblastic cells (keratocytes) and not corneal epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-930
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1990


  • cell line
  • cornea
  • epithelium
  • keratocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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