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Hajime Osanai, Shin-ichi Abe, Jose Rodríguez-Vázquez, Samuel Verdugo-López, Gen Murakami, Hiroshi Ohguro; Human Orbital Muscle: A New Point of View from the Fetal Development of Extraocular Connective Tissues. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(3):1501-1506. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6013.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In the human body, the orbital muscle is a limited smooth-muscle tissue extending between hard tissues. To provide better understanding of its function, the authors re-examined its development in fetuses.
Using 20 human fetuses (12–25 weeks of gestation), semiserial horizontal or sagittal paraffin sections were prepared at intervals of 20 to 100 μm. In addition to routine histology, the authors performed silver staining as well as immunohistochemistry for alpha smooth-muscle actin (SMA), vimentin, S100 protein, and tyrosine hydroxylase.
Up to 12 weeks, the orbital muscle appeared as a plate-like mesenchymal condensation between the ciliary and sphenopalatine ganglia. Up to 15 weeks, the thick smooth-muscle layer provided an inferoposterior wall for the orbit. A notable feature was a difference in fatty tissue development between the ocular (anterior) and posterior sides of the orbital muscle. At 20 and 25 weeks, SMA immunoreactivity and the amount of smooth-muscle basal lamina were decreased, in contrast to an increase in the number of collagenous fiber bundles. Nerves for the orbital muscle are unlikely to contain sympathetic fibers until 15 weeks.
The authors hypothesize that, in the early stage, the orbital muscle separates the orbital content from the surrounding loose spaces to maintain conditions adequate for the development of orbital fat and other connective tissues. Later, the orbital muscle is replaced by collagenous fibers and seems to provide guidance for calcification of the inferoposterior bony orbital wall. Vimentin-positive osteoprogenitor cells appear to migrate from the perichondrium of the sphenoid and ethmoid.
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