We investigated the effect of fibronectin on epithelial migration onto the stroma in cultured rabbit cornea. Rabbit plasma fibronectin was purified by affinity chromatography using gelatin-Sepharose 4B, and its purity was confirmed by SDS polyacrylamide slab gel electrophoresis. Antibody against rabbit plasma fibronectin raised in guinea pigs formed a single precipitin line against rabbit plasma and purified rabbit plasma fibronectin by Ouchterlony double diffusion test. When rabbit cornea was cut into small blocks and cultured in TCM-199 medium alone, corneal epithelial cells began to migrate on the cut edge of the corneal stroma. The addition of purified rabbit plasma fibronectin to the culture medium significantly enhanced epithelial migration. The degree of enhancement depended on the amount of fibronectin added. When guinea pig IgG anti-rabbit plasma fibronectin was added, epithelial migration was significantly inhibited when compared with that in control cultured corneal blocks. The results demonstrate that fibronectin promotes epithelial migration in the cornea and thus plays an important role in corneal wound healing.

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