Author(s): Schraermeyer M, Schnichels S, Julien S, Heiduschka P, BartzSchmidt KU,
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Abstract PURPOSE: To characterise ocular pigment abnormalities associated with iris atrophy in DBA/2J mice as a model for human pigment dispersion syndrome. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry, electron and light microscopy were performed to examine the eyes of DBA/2J mice ranging in age from 2.5 to 18 months old. The focus of our study was the description of the ultrastructural modifications in the irides of DBA/2J mice. RESULTS: The DBA/2J mice presented modifications in the melanosomes in all the pigmented parts of the eye, including the retinal pigment epithelial cells and choroidal melanocytes of the ciliary pigment epithelium. The extracellular matrix of the iris stroma disappeared with ageing. Pigmented cells detached from the iris and migrated into the trabecular meshwork exclusively on the anterior iris surface. These cells were identified as macrophages by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. There was no evidence that melanocytes or iris pigment epithelial cells migrated into the trabecular meshwork, but they became more and more depigmented. The aqueous outflow was blocked by pigment-laden cells, but not by cellular debris or melanosomes. No substantial amount of extracellular melanosomes was observed. CONCLUSION: The morphology of melanosomes is aberrant in all pigment cells in the eyes of DBA/2J mice. We conclude that the disease process begins with the transfer of both immature melanosomes from the iris pigment epithelium (IPE) and melanocytes to macrophages, which subsequently migrate into the trabecular meshwork. Accumulating macrophages cause a blockade of the chamber angle. As the disease progresses, the IPE, melanocytes and iris stroma, including blood vessels, disappear, leading to iris atrophy. It is speculated that the loss of these pigment cells is partly caused by reduction of the iris stroma.
This article was published in Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology