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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1990 Jun;31(6):1096-102.

Immunolocalization of type VI collagen in developing and healing rabbit cornea.

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  • 1Eye Research Institute, Boston, MA 02114.


We have localized type VI collagen in normal developing and corneal scar tissue. Indirect immunofluorescence showed that type VI collagen was distributed throughout the normal stroma and most of the scar. No fluorescence was detected along the posterior margin of the scar and in a retrocorneal membrane continuous with the scar. Since the corneal endothelium in rabbits contributes to the formation of scar tissue and retrocorneal membrane, our observations suggest that the endothelium does not synthesize type VI collagen. Indirect immunoelectron microscopy showed that type VI collagen was located abundantly between collagen fibrils as fine filamentous structures containing beads with a periodicity of 100 nm, consistent with published observations of other tissues. Because these filaments are more prominent when stained with ruthenium red, and predigestion of tissue with Chondroitinase ABC enhances binding of monoclonal antibody to type VI collagen, proteoglycans probably are associated with this collagen in the cornea. Ultrastructural observations supported by previous biochemical analyses show that the proportion of type VI collagen to fibrillar collagen is smaller in scar tissue compared with fetal cornea. The abundance of type VI collagen and its distribution and association with proteoglycans in rabbit corneal tissues suggest that this macromolecule plays a role in the tensile strength and transparency of the stroma.

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