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J Dong, L Wang, G Cull, GA Cioffi; Quantification of Astrocytes and GFAP-Immunoreactivity in Normal and Glaucomatous Human Retinas . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):4072.
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Purpose: Proliferation of astrocytes and upregulation of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) has been linked to neuronal damages. In glaucoma, retinal astrocytes exhibited dramatic morphological changes. The present study aimed to quantify the numbers of astrocytes and GFAP changes in glaucomatous retinas compared to normal. Methods: Retinal cross-sections from 4 normal and 6 primary open-angle glaucoma human donors were stained with GFAP immunohistochemically or with HE. In the peripapillary and periphral retinas in each of the sections, the GFAP-immunoreactivity (IR) of astrocytes in the nerve fiber layer (NFL) of the same sized areas were quantified by integrating the intensity of the GFAP-IR with the corresponding GFAP-IR area by an Imaging System (Bioquant, R&M Biometrics, Ins. Nashville, TN). All the nuclei in the NFL, which were predominantly of the astrocytes, were counted. The mean differences of the measured values between the normal and glaucomatous eyes were statistically evaluated with nonparametric Mann-Whitney U Test. Results: The integrated GFAP-IR intensities at the peripapillary and peripheral regions were 8656 ±2710 and 1928 ±1154 (arbitatory unit, Mean ±SD), respectively. In normal eyes, they were 603 ±430, and 298 ±193, respectively. The differences between the normal and glaucoma in the both regions were statistically significant (P < 0.05). The average number of astrocytes in the counted areas in the glaucomatous retinas (52 ±29) was twice as many as that in the normal retinas (25 ±9). However, the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.10). Conclusion: In the glaucomatous retinas, the GFAP-IR in the astrocytes was significantly increased with a trend of astrocytes proliferation. It suggests that the astrocytes may play a role in pathological mechanisms in response to glaucomatous neural injury.
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