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Retina. 2012 Nov-Dec;32(10):2141-9. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e3182562017.

Proteomic analysis of vitreous biopsy techniques.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.



To compare vitreous biopsy methods using analysis platforms used in proteomics biomarker discovery.


Vitreous biopsies from 10 eyes were collected sequentially using a 23-gauge needle and a 23-gauge vitreous cutter instrument. Paired specimens were evaluated by UV absorbance spectroscopy, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).


The total protein concentration obtained with a needle and vitrectomy instrument biopsy averaged 1.10 mg/mL (standard error of the mean = 0.35) and 1.13 mg/mL (standard error of the mean = 0.25), respectively. In eight eyes with low or medium viscidity, there was a very high correlation (R = 0.934) between the biopsy methods. When data from 2 eyes with high viscidity vitreous were included, the correlation was reduced (R = 0.704). The molecular weight protein sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis profiles of paired needle and vitreous cutter samples were similar, except for a minority of pairs with single band intensity variance. Using LC-MS/MS, equivalent peptides were identified with similar frequencies (R ≥ 0.90) in paired samples.


Proteins and peptides collected from vitreous needle biopsies are nearly equivalent to those obtained from a vitreous cutter instrument. This study suggests both techniques may be used for most proteomic and biomarker discovery studies of vitreoretinal diseases, although a minority of proteins and peptides may differ in concentration.

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