Collagen XI plays a role in nucleating collagen fibrils and in controlling fibril diameter. The aim of this research was to elucidate the role that collagen XI plays in corneal fibrillogenesis during development and following injury. The temporal and spatial expression of collagen XI was evaluated in C57BL/6 wild-type mice. For wound-healing studies in adult mice, stromal injuries were created using techniques that avoid caustic chemicals. The temporal expression and spatial localization of collagen XI was studied following injury in a Col11a1 inducible knockout mouse model. We found that collagen XI expression occurs during early maturation and is upregulated after stromal injury in areas of regeneration and remodeling. Abnormal fibrillogenesis with new fibrils of heterogeneous size and shape occurs after injury in a decreased collagen XI matrix. In conclusion, collagen XI is expressed in the stroma during development and following injury in adults, and is a regulator of collagen fibrillogenesis in regenerating corneal tissue.

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