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Edward R. Chu, Bridget N. Ballard, Kenneth M. Yee, Fred N. Ross-Cisneros, Michele C. Madigan, Magali M. Le Goff, Paul N. Bishop, Alfredo A. Sadun, J. Sebag; Localization of Opticin in Fetal Human Eyes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):4927.
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Opticin is a small leucine-rich repeat protein that has been identified in the vitreous of adult humans. Given that opticin is believed to be important in adult vitreo-retinal physiology (Ramesh et al, Br J Ophthalmol 2004; Pattwell et al, Exp Eye Res 2010), it is of interest to investigate opticin localization in fetal human eyes.
Four fetal human eyes from subjects aged 13, 14, 18 and 19 weeks' gestation (WG) were fixed in formalin, embedded in paraffin and sectioned. Following antigen retrieval and endogenous peroxidase inactivation, an antiserum raised against a human opticin peptide was used for immunolocalization of opticin by incubating with horseradish peroxidase-conjugated anti-rabbit antibody. Visualization of opticin was performed with a DAB chromogen (Dako Labs) that produced a brown color. The specimens were counter-stained with hematoxylin, and examined with light microscopy.
There was weak immunostaining for opticin in the internal limiting lamina (ILL), posterior vitreous, non-pigmented epithelium of the ciliary body and lens epithelium. Weak opticin immunostaining was also identified in the corneal epithelium (13, 14 and 18 WG) and corneal endothelium (13 WG only). Opticin immunostaining was most prominent in the lens fiber, tunica vasculosa lentis and anterior vitreous, especially in younger fetal eyes. Immunostaining in the ILL and areas surrounding the hyaloid artery was most evident in the 19 WG when compared to younger fetal eyes. Opticin also appeared more intense in the anterior ILL of the 19 WG than elsewhere. Compared to the adult eye, however, immunostaining of the ILL was not significant. There was no opticin immunostaining of pericytes, neural retina, choroid or iris.
The presence and distribution of opticin in fetal human eyes demonstrate considerable differences from the adult, especially at the vitreo-retinal interface. The findings in the fetus suggest that opticin may be important in early lens development. A better understanding of the action(s) of opticin could provide insight into the role of vitreous in ocular development.
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