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Carolyn Guan, Mary Ellen Pease, Sarah Quillen, Yik Tung Tracy Ling, Ximin Li, Elizabeth Kimball, Thomas V. Johnson, Thao D. Nguyen, Harry A. Quigley; Quantitative Microstructural Analysis of Cellular and Tissue Remodeling in Human Glaucoma Optic Nerve Head. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(11):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.11.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To measure quantitatively changes in lamina cribrosa (LC) cell and connective tissue structure in human glaucoma eyes.
We studied 27 glaucoma and 19 age-matched non-glaucoma postmortem eyes. In 25 eyes, LC cross-sections were examined by confocal and multiphoton microscopy to quantify structures identified by anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), phalloidin-labeled F-actin, nuclear 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), and by second harmonic generation imaging of LC beams. Additional light and transmission electron microscopy were performed in 21 eyes to confirm features of LC remodeling, including immunolabeling by anti-SOX9 and anti-collagen IV. All glaucoma eyes had detailed clinical histories of open-angle glaucoma status, and degree of axon loss was quantified in retrolaminar optic nerve cross-sections.
Within LC pores, the proportionate area of both GFAP and F-actin processes was significantly lower in glaucoma eyes than in controls (P = 0.01). Nuclei were rounder (lower median aspect ratio) in glaucoma specimens (P = 0.02). In models assessing degree of glaucoma damage, F-actin process width was significantly wider in glaucoma eyes with more damage (P = 0.024), average LC beam width decreased with worse glaucoma damage (P = 0.042), and nuclear count per square millimeter rose with worse damage (P = 0.019). The greater cell count in LC pores represented 92.3% astrocytes by SOX9 labeling. The results are consistent with replacement of axons in LC pores by basement membrane labeled by anti-collagen IV and in-migrating astrocytes.
Alteration in LC structure in glaucoma involves migration of astrocytes into axonal bundles, change in astrocyte orientation and processes, production of basement membrane material, and thinning of connective tissue beams.
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