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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Jan-Feb;23(1):32-6.

D2-40 expression demonstrates lymphatic vessel characteristics in the dural portion of the optic nerve sheath.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.



To investigate the presence or absence of lymphatic vessels in the human optic nerve by means of immunohistochemistry.


Use of selective molecular markers to differentiate lymphatics from blood vessels in optic nerve specimens obtained after enucleation or exenteration procedures. Specifically, the lymphatic-specific monoclonal antibody D2-40 was used to identify lymphatic endothelial cells in contrast to CD-34 identification of endothelial cells of blood vessels. Optic nerves obtained from 10 enucleation and 2 exenteration specimens submitted for routine pathology. Paraffin-embedded sections of human optic nerve were immunostained with the lymphatic specific endothelial marker D2-40 and the vascular specific endothelial marker CD-34, using a double-staining method.


Immunostaining with the lymphatic selective marker D2-40 positively demonstrated lymphatic vessels in the dura mater of the optic nerve. CD-34 counter-immunostaining identified blood vessels as separate vascular structures within the optic nerve meninges and adjacent ocular tissues. Positive D2-40 staining of the arachnoid mater in a nonvascular pattern was identified.


Vessels with features compatible with lymphatic vessels were demonstrated by means of a selective monoclonal immunohistochemical marker for lymphatic endothelium in the dura mater of the human optic nerve.

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