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C R Ethier, F M Coloma, A W de Kater, R R Allingham; Retroperfusion studies of the aqueous outflow system. Part 2: Studies in human eyes.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(12):2466-2475.
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PURPOSE: To extend the retroperfusion technique to allow the delivery of drugs into Schlemm's canal in enucleated human eyes and to use this technique to gain insights into the function of the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. METHODS: Using our previously developed retroperfusion technique, the anterior chamber of enucleated human eyes was held at a small negative pressure (-0.75 mm Hg), and fluid was allowed to flow retrograde from the limbal vessels, through the collector channels, and into Schlemm's canal. In this manner, the sulfhydryl agent N-ethyl maleimide (NEM) or the fixative agent glutaraldehyde was delivered to the inner wall of Schlemm's canal in normal and glaucomatous human eyes. Facility changes caused by retroperfusion were measured and correlated with histologic studies of the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. RESULTS: Retroperfusion effectively delivers fluid from the scleral surface into the lumen of Schlemm's canal. Retroperfusion with vehicle alone does not alter facility or change outflow pathway morphology. Retroperfusion with NEM causes an approximately 35% facility increase and concomitant inner wall openings. Retroperfusion with glutaraldehyde in normal eyes and eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma causes a facility decrease of 53% and 64%, respectively, and localized fixation of the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. The magnitude of the facility changes caused by retroperfusion were similar to those seen using conventional forward perfusion of NEM and glutaraldehyde. CONCLUSIONS: Retroperfusion is a viable technique for the delivery of drugs or other agents into Schlemm's canal in enucleated human eyes. Retroperfusion-induced changes in outflow facility are correlated strongly with morphologically observed alterations in inner wall structure. The majority of outflow resistance is localized to the inner wall of Schlemm's canal or the immediately adjacent 10-microns region of the juxtacanalicular tissue in normal eyes and in eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma. Inner wall giant vacuoles and pores likely persist for sometime, even after fixation at zero or negative pressure.
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