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Exp Eye Res. 2005 May;80(5):643-50. Epub 2005 Jan 4.

Packages of vitreous collagen (type II) in the human retina: an indication of postnatal collagen turnover?

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Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital/University of Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the vitreoretinal border in the (pre-)equatorial area in nonpathologic human donor eyes, because the majority of retinal defects induced by posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) are located there. Nine eyes (24-80 years) were fixed and embedded in Technovit 8100. After evaluation by light microscope, areas of interest were selected for immunotransmission electron microscope. Anti-type II collagen antibody was used to stain vitreous fibrils and lamellae; anti-type IV collagen antibody was used to identify the internal limiting lamina (ILL); anti-vimentin and anti-CD-68 antibodies stained retinal Muller cells and macrophages, respectively. Observations included fusing of lamellae with the ILL, an intravitreal course of the ILL, and clear focal interruptions in the ILL. In addition, an obvious finding was the presence of intraretinal packages of type II collagen. Interestingly these collagen packages were closely related to Muller cells and, in several eyes, also to macrophages, cell debris and interruptions in the ILL. In our opinion, the collagen packages can reflect the net result of a process of interactive remodelling, in which both breakdown and synthesis of vitreous and ILL collagens take place. Connections between vitreous and intraretinal collagen networks can make the (pre-)equatorial area more vulnerable to tearing and retinal detachment in the case of liquefaction and PVD.

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