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Benjamen A. Filas, Ying-Bo Shui, David C. Beebe; Computational Model for Oxygen Transport and Consumption in Human Vitreous. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(10):6549-6559. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-12609.
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Previous studies that measured liquefaction and oxygen content in human vitreous suggested that exposure of the lens to excess oxygen causes nuclear cataracts. Here, we developed a computational model that reproduced available experimental oxygen distributions for intact and degraded human vitreous in physiologic and environmentally perturbed conditions. After validation, the model was used to estimate how age-related changes in vitreous physiology and structure alter oxygen levels at the lens.
A finite-element model for oxygen transport and consumption in the human vitreous was created. Major inputs included ascorbate-mediated oxygen consumption in the vitreous, consumption at the posterior lens surface, and inflow from the retinal vasculature. Concentration-dependent relations were determined from experimental human data or estimated from animal studies, with the impact of all assumptions explored via parameter studies.
The model reproduced experimental data in humans, including oxygen partial pressure (Po 2) gradients (≈15 mm Hg) across the anterior-posterior extent of the vitreous body, higher oxygen levels at the pars plana relative to the vitreous core, increases in Po 2 near the lens after cataract surgery, and equilibration in the vitreous chamber following vitrectomy. Loss of the antioxidative capacity of ascorbate increases oxygen levels 3-fold at the lens surface. Homogeneous vitreous degeneration (liquefaction), but not partial posterior vitreous detachment, greatly increases oxygen exposure to the lens.
Ascorbate content and the structure of the vitreous gel are critical determinants of lens oxygen exposure. Minimally invasive surgery and restoration of vitreous structure warrant further attention as strategies for preventing nuclear cataracts.
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