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Ophthalmology. 1995 Jun;102(6):878-86.

Elastosis of the lamina cribrosa in pseudoexfoliation syndrome with glaucoma.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Pseudoexfoliation syndrome is characterized by the presence of glycoprotein fibers in ocular and extraocular tissues, and often is associated with glaucoma. Pseudoexfoliation material may be associated closely with elastic microfibrillar-associated glycoprotein as well as elastin.


Four optic nerve heads of two patients with pseudoexfoliation syndrome and glaucoma were examined using electron microscopy and immunogold detection of elastin. Optic nerve heads from healthy age-matched individuals and patients with primary open-angle glaucoma were used for comparisons.


In all eyes with pseudoexfoliation and glaucoma, there was marked and widespread elastosis in the connective tissue of the lamina cribrosa. Elastotic fibers appeared as large and irregular aggregates of electron-dense material labeled with anti-elastin antibody. Abundant microfibrils were interspersed in the elastotic aggregates, whereas no typical pseudoexfoliation fibers were observed. In contrast, there were less elastotic fibers in the lamina cribrosa from patients with primary open-angle glaucoma compared with pseudoexfoliation glaucoma. Other changes of extracellular matrix were similar to those observed in primary open-angle glaucoma: decreases in collagen fiber density, presence of basement membranes not associated with cell surfaces, and abundant bundles of microfibrils not labeled with elastin antibody. The elastic fibers appeared normal in other locations within the optic nerves of patients with pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, including in the pial septa and blood vessels of the retrolaminar myelinated optic nerve.


The authors' findings demonstrate marked and site-specific elastosis in the lamina cribrosa of patients with pseudoexfoliation syndrome with glaucoma, suggesting an abnormal regulation of elastin synthesis and/or degradation in the optic nerve of patients with this disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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