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Ageing of Schlemm's canal in nonglaucomatous subjects
AIM: to study age-related Schlemm's canal endothelial changes and evaluate consequences on the filtration function. MATERIAL AND METHODS: the inner wall endothelium of Schlemm's canal was examined in 9 non-glaucomatous subjects aged between 32 and 75 years, by a combined technique of light and electron microscopy (scanning and transmission). Quantitative analysis included counts of bulges, pores, nuclei, giant vacuoles and other protruding structures, as well as measures of pores, giant vacuoles and Schlemm's canal size parameters (diameter and inner wall width). Outflow facility calculations were realised using a modified previously described mathematical model. RESULTS: The main structures affected by ageing in Schlemm's canal appeared to be giant vacuoles. Their density but also their size is significantly reduced with increasing age. The intracellular pore population is also found to diminish with age and is correlated to that of giant vacuoles, suggesting that those pores are luminal openings of vacuoles. Outflow facility calculations revealed a global decrease of endothelial outflow facility of about 60% between the 3rd and 7th decades. The study also showed a different age-related pattern for the two subtypes of endothelial pores. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that Schlemm's canal filtration function is significantly influenced by age, as the endothelial inner wall outflow facility is found to be widely reduced. This is partly the result of an age-related reduction in counts of giant vacuoles and intracellular pores. The second pore population (border or intercellular) doesn't follow the same evolution, but may have a more significant regulator role in transendothelial permeability.
Adult Aged Aging/*physiology Aqueous Humor/*secretion Cell Count Ciliary Body/physiology Endothelium/metabolism/ultrastructure Female Fixatives Humans Intraocular Pressure/physiology Linear Models Male Mathematics Microscopy, Electron, Scanning Middle Aged Models, Biological Porosity Sclera/*physiology/ultrastructure Trabecular Meshwork/*ultrastructure
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