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Jose M. Gonzalez, Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, James C. H. Tan; Analyzing Live Cellularity in the Human Trabecular Meshwork. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(2):1039-1047. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10479.
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To directly visualize the live cellularity of the intact human trabecular meshwork (TM) and quantitatively analyze tissue viability in situ.
Human donor corneoscleral rims were sectioned immediately before intravital dye incubation to label nuclei (Hoechst 33342 & propidium iodide [PI]); cytosol (CellTracker Red CMTPX, calcein AM); and membranes (octadecyl rhodamine B chloride [R18]), followed by 2-photon microscopy. Viability was assessed by counting cells in tissue colabeled with PI and Calcein AM. Some tissues were exposed to Triton X-100 to establish dead tissue controls. Fresh postmortem eyes (within 48 hours of death) represented viable tissue controls. Tissues with live cellularity exceeding 50% were considered viable.
Hoechst nuclear labeling was seen throughout the TM, among the autofluorescent beams, plate-like structures and fibers of the meshwork, and within tissue gaps and pores. CellTracker-labeled live cells were attached to autofluorescent TM structures and filled corneoscleral meshwork pores. R18-labeling revealed the membrane distributions of interconnected cells. Calcein-positive cells were visible in all TM layers, but not in tissues killed by Triton X-100 exposure. Dead control tissues showed PI staining in the absence of Calcein-positive cells. Two-thirds of the standard donor tissues we received possessed viable TM, having a mean live cellularity of 71% (n = 14), comparable with freshly postmortem eyes (76%; n = 2). Mean live cellularity of nonviable tissue was 11% (n = 7).
We have visualized and quantified the live cellularity of the TM in situ. This provided unique perspectives of live cell-matrix organization and a means of assaying tissue viability.
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