Cellular transport of subretinal material into choroidal and scleral blood vessels: an electron microscopic study

S Peters, P Kayatz, N Kociok, K Heimann, U Schraermeyer


BACKGROUND: The fate of indigestible material injected into the subretinal space of rats was investigated.

METHODS: The non-toxic dye Monastral Blue (MB), which cannot be digested within the lysosomal compartment, was injected transsclerally into the subretinal space of Long Evans and Wistar rats. After 5 and 12 days respectively the eyes were enucleated and examined by light and electron microscopy. Cryo sections were made of eyes 5 days after MB injection for the application of immunohistochemical techniques using markers for epithelial cells (cytokeratin) and macrophages (ED 1).

RESULTS: Retina, choroid and sclera were not altered in their morphology in the circumference of the MB-containing bubble generated by subretinal injection. After both 5 and 12 days no injected material was found extracellularly in the subretinal space. Especially high amounts of MB were found, in particular 5 days after injection, in lysosomes and melanosomes of RPE cells as well as in cells between choroidal melanocytes. Cells containing MB were seen in contact with choroidal and scleral blood vessels. These MB-containing cells in the choroid and in the sclera were positive for macrophage antibodies.

CONCLUSION: Subretinal injection was confirmed as a suitable method for placing fluids into the subretinal space without affecting the morphology of the retina. Subretinal injected material was shown to be incorporated into lysosomes and melanosomes of RPE cells. The injected material was subsequently transported through Bruch's membrane to be finally removed from the eye via choroidal and scleral veins, the process involving macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)976-83
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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