Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) involves the formation of intravitreal fibrocellular membranes which may lead to traction retinal detachment and blindness. The cellular component of epiretinal membranes originates from the proliferation and migration of cells within the eye. Several growth factors and other cytokines are plausible candidates for directing the processes leading to membrane formation. A reproducible animal model is needed for experimental studies of cytokine expression during PVR induction or treatment. We found that intravitreal injection of > 106 mixed mononuclear leukocytes or adherent monocytes along with a trans-scleral incision through the pars plana leads to the development of PVR-like disease in rabbit eyes. The severity of the disease was related to the number of monocytes injected. Typically, organized membranes extending from the incision toward the optic nerve formed within one week. Progression to extensive traction retinal detachment required 1 to 4 weeks. Injection of up to 5 × 106 lymphocytes or freeze-thaw killed monocytes was ineffective, and coinjecting 100 μg endotoxin with the monocytes did not result in enhanced disease. The histological appearance of the epiretinal membranes was similar to human PVR membranes. Macrophage, cytokeratin-positive (epithelial), and fibroblast-like cells were present. Northern blot analysis of RNA extracted from the rabbit membranes revealed the presence of mRNA for acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF). Acidic FGF mRNA was not expressed by the injected monocytes. A comparable level of aFGF mRNA and also mRNAs for basic FGF, platelet-derived growth factor-B, and transforming growth factor beta were found in epiretinal membranes induced by a scleral incision in association with cryopexy. These model systems will be valuable for studying cytokine-mediated regulation of epiretinal membrane development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience