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Apoptosis in proliferative vitreoretinal disorders: possible involvement of TGF-beta-induced RPE cell apoptosis

Esser, P
Heimann, K
Bartz-schmidt, K U
Fontana, A
Schraermeyer, U
Weller, M
Published in Experimental Eye Research. 1997, vol. 65, no. 3, p. 365-378
Abstract The targeted induction of apoptosis is a novel therapeutic approach to control the unlimited growth of proliferating cells. Since massive proliferation of cells at the vitreoretinal interface is a key feature of proliferative vitreoretinal disorders, we sought to identify apoptosis in epiretinal membranes from patients with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and macular pucker. Further, we evaluated the possible induction of apoptosis of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells by transforming growth factor-beta(TGF-beta). Apoptotic cells were identified by in situ DNA end labeling and acridine orange staining on paraffin-embedded tissue sections from epiretinal membranes of patients with all vitreoretinal disorders examined. Labeled nuclei or condensed chromatin were scattered throughout the membranes or occurred in clusters. Most apoptotic cells were RPE-derived, as assessed by cytokeratin immunochemistry. No apoptotic glial cells were detected. In PVR, proliferative activity, as confirmed by Ki-67 immunochemistry, was associated with short history and rapid disease progression. Apoptotic nuclei were observed more frequently in long-standing PVR or slow progression towards traction retinal detachment. TGF-beta was detected in all control vitreous samples by bioassay at concentrations below 20 ng ml-1. TGF-beta levels increased up to 20-fold in pathological vitreous. Marked heterogeneity was observed in all patient groups. The degree of TGF-beta activation was significantly higher in PVR than in PDR. Proapoptotic effects of TGF-beta were demonstrated in cultured human RPE cells by electron microscopy, in situ DNA end labeling, comet assay and a photometric enzyme immunoassay for histone-associated DNA fragments. Apoptosis appears to be a key regulatory mechanism of growth control of specific cell populations in proliferative vitreoretinal disorders. Administration of proapoptotic growth factors such as TGF-beta may provide a novel approach to inhibit cellular proliferation at the vitreoretinal interface.
Keywords ApoptosisCells, Cultured/metabolismDiabetic Retinopathy/metabolism/pathologyHumansImmunohistochemistryKi-67 Antigen/metabolismPigment Epithelium of Eye/pathologyRetinal Diseases/metabolism/pathologyTransforming Growth Factor beta/metabolism/physiologyVitreous Body/metabolism
PMID: 9299173
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ESSER, P et al. Apoptosis in proliferative vitreoretinal disorders: possible involvement of TGF-beta-induced RPE cell apoptosis. In: Experimental Eye Research, 1997, vol. 65, n° 3, p. 365-378.

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