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Keywords:

  • cornea;
  • corneal development;
  • collagen;
  • proteoglycans;
  • glycosaminoglycans

Abstract

The cornea of the eye is a unique, transparent connective tissue. It is comprised predominantly of collagen fibrils, remarkably uniform in diameter and regularly spaced, organized into an intricate lamellar array. Its establishment involves a precisely controlled sequence of developmental events in which the embryonic cornea undergoes major structural transformations that ultimately determine tissue form and function. In this article, we will review corneal developmental dynamics from a structural perspective, consider the roles and interrelationships of collagens and proteoglycans, and comment on contemporary concepts and current challenges pertinent to developmental processes that result in an optically clear, mature cornea. Developmental Dynamics 237:2607–2621, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.