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Bryn L. Brazile, Yi Hua, Ning-Jiun Jan, Jacob Wallace, Alexandra Gogola, Ian A. Sigal; Thin Lamina Cribrosa Beams Have Different Collagen Microstructure Than Thick Beams. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(11):4653-4661. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24763.
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To compare the collagen microstructural crimp characteristics between thin and thick lamina cribrosa (LC) beams.
Seven eyes from four sheep were fixed at 5 mm Hg IOP in 10% formalin. For each eye, one to three coronal cryosections through the LC were imaged with polarized light microscopy and analyzed to visualize the LC and determine collagen fiber microstructure. For every beam, we measured its width and three characteristics of the crimp of its collagen fibers: waviness, tortuosity, and amplitude. Linear mixed effects models were used to test whether crimp characteristics were associated with the LC beam width.
For each eye and over all the eyes, LC beam width was positively associated with crimp waviness and tortuosity, and negatively associated with crimp amplitude (P's < 0.0001). Thin beams, average width 13.11 μm, had average (SD) waviness, tortuosity, and amplitude of 0.27 (0.17) radians, 1.017 (0.028) and 1.88 (1.41) μm, respectively. For thick beams, average width 26.10 μm, these characteristics were 0.33 (0.18) radians, 1.025 (0.037) and 1.58 (1.36) μm, respectively.
Our results suggest heterogeneity in LC beam mechanical properties. Thin beams were less wavy than their thicker counterparts, suggesting that thin beams may stiffen at lower IOP than thick beams. This difference may allow thin beams to support similar amounts of IOP-induced force as thicker beams, thus providing a similar level of structural support to the axons at physiologic IOP, despite the differences in width. Measurements of beam-level mechanical properties are needed to confirm these predictions.
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