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Pim Hofman, Philip Hoyng, Frans vanderWerf, Gijs F. J. M. Vrensen, Reinier O. Schlingemann; Lack of Blood–Brain Barrier Properties in Microvessels of the Prelaminar Optic Nerve Head. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(5):895-901.
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purpose. To define the blood–brain barrier (BBB) characteristics of
microvessels in the optic nerve head (ONH).
methods. Immunohistochemical staining of different regions of the ONH,
retro-laminar optic nerve, and retina of human and monkey eyes was
carried out, using antibodies against BBB markers (glucose transporter
1, transferrin receptor, and P-glycoprotein), the non-BBB marker PAL-E,
and against plasma proteins fibrinogen and IgG, which serve as
endogenous markers of nonspecific microvascular permeability. In the
ONH of monkey eyes, the number of transport-related endothelial
pinocytotic vesicles and their cellular distribution within the
microvessels were determined by electron microscopy.
results. In both human and monkey eyes, only microvessels in the prelaminar
region of the ONH were positive for the PAL-E antigen. The prelaminar
region microvessels showed either no or weak expression of the
transferrin receptor and P-glycoprotein but stained positive for
glucose transporter 1. In human ONH, fibrinogen and IgG were present
around microvessels in the prelaminar region but not in other parts of
the optic nerve or retina. By electron microscopy, endothelial cells of
prelaminar region microvessels contained a higher number of pinocytotic
vesicles, located at the luminal and abluminal side of the endothelial
cell membrane, in contrast to a mainly abluminal localization in
microvessels of the retina and other parts of the optic nerve.
conclusions. Microvessels in the prelaminar region of the ONH lack classical BBB
characteristics and display nonspecific permeability, possibly mediated
by vesicular transport.
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