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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001 Sep;42(10):2193-201.

Somatostatin receptor gene expression in human ocular tissues: RT-PCR and immunohistochemical study.

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William H. Havener Eye Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.



Somatostatin (SST) analogues have been used to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy, pseudotumor cerebri, thyroid orbitopathy, and cystoid macular edema. There is a paucity of published data in regards to cell-specific distribution of SST receptors (SSTR) in normal human eye tissues. Gene expression for all five known SSTRs in normal human ciliary body/iris, retina, choroid, and cultured retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells were studied.


mRNA was isolated from human ocular tissues (iris/ciliary body, retina, and choroid) dissected from eight pairs of normal eyes (9-62 years) and from RPE cells grown in culture. RT-PCR was done for all five SSTRs in all analyzed tissues. Immunohistochemistry for SSTR1 and SSTR2 was performed on eight pairs of normal human eyes (28-74 years) imbedded in paraffin.


SSTR1 to 5 genes are expressed in retina, SSTR1 and SSTR2 genes in cultured RPE cells, and SSTR1, 2, and 4 in ciliary body and choroid. SSTR1 and SSTR2 immunoreactivity (-ir) was observed on a variety of cells within all analyzed tissues including cornea, iris, trabecular meshwork, Schlemm's canal, ciliary processes, ciliary muscle, retina, choroid, cultured RPE cells, and optic nerve.


SSTR genes are widely expressed in normal human eye tissues, with genes for SSTR1 and SSTR2 being the most widely expressed. Genes for all SSTRs are expressed in retina. SSTR1-ir and SSTR2-ir were observed in all analyzed ocular tissues. Detailed knowledge of SSTRs distribution and function in the human eye will result in a better understanding of their role in health and disease.

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