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S R Russell, J D Shepherd, G S Hageman; Distribution of glycoconjugates in the human retinal internal limiting membrane.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1991;32(7):1986-1995.
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The internal limiting membrane (ILM), or basal lamina, of the neural retina is located between the end feet of retinal Müller cells and the vitreous cortex. Recent studies of ILM substructure and histochemistry suggest that the ILM lamina rara externa, a region of the ILM likely to mediate vitreoretinal adhesion, is rich in noncollagen glycoconjugates. To characterize the spatial distribution and temporal expression of ILM glycoconjugates further, fetal and adult human retinas were examined using lectin histochemistry. Eyes from early fetal (13-15 weeks of gestation), midfetal (17-20 weeks of gestation), late fetal (23-26 weeks of gestation), full-term (38-41 weeks of gestation), early adult (17-20 yr of age), and late adult (57-84 yr of age) stages were examined. Although a number of significant observations pertaining to the distribution and temporal expression of ILM-associated glycoconjugates are described, two may have a significant relationship to vitreoretinal adhesion. In contrast to laminin and fibronectin, which are detectable throughout the retinal ILM at both young and older adulthood, erythrina cristagalii (ECA), a lectin with high binding affinity for galactose beta (1,3) N-acetyl-glucosamine, binds strongly to the ILM of young eyes but does not bind to the ILM of eyes from older donors. In addition, dolichos bifloris (DBA), a lectin with high binding affinity for N-acetylgalactosamine, does not bind to the ILM at early fetal stages, but binds at the midfetal stage, a time which corresponds with the onset of tertiary vitreous elaboration. More significantly, the DBA-binding glycoconjugate is neural retina ILM specific; it is not present in the basal lamina of the ciliary epithelium. Based on the known oligosaccharide composition of nonocular forms of human laminin, fibronectin, and collagen type I, and on the distribution of these molecules in the basal laminas of both the retina and ciliary epithelium, the authors conclude that the molecule bound by DBA has not been identified previously as a component of the ILM. Further characterization of ILM-associated molecules will be important to understand vitreoretinal adhesion and clinical disorders where adhesion is anomalous.
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