Phenotypic heterogeneity in the endothelium of the human vortex vein system

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Abstract

The vortex vein system is the drainage pathway for the choroidal circulation and serves an important function in the effective drainage of the exceptionally high blood flow from the choroidal circulation. As there are only 4-6 vortex veins, a large volume of blood must be drained from many choroidal veins into each individual vortex vein. The vortex vein system must also cope with passing through tissues of different rigidity and significant pressure gradient as it transverses from the intrao-cular to the extra-ocular compartments. However, little is known about how the vortex vein system works under such complex situations in both physiological and pathological condition. Endothelial cells play a vital role in other vascular systems, but they have not been studied in detail in the vortex vein system. The purpose of this study is to characterise the intracellular structures and morphology in both the intra-and extra-ocular regions of the human vortex vein system. We hypothesise the presence of endothelial phenotypic heterogeneity through the vortex vein system. The inferior temporal vortex vein system from human donor eyes were obtained and studied histologically using confocal microscopy. The f-actin cytoskeleton and nuclei were labelled using Alexa Fluor conjugated Phalloidin and YO-PRO-1. Eight regions of the vortex vein system were examined with the venous endothelium studied in detail with quantitative data obtained for endothelial cell and nuclei size and shape. Significant endothelial phenotypic heterogeneity was found throughout the vortex vein system with the most obvious differences observed between the ampulla and its downstream regions. Variation in the distribution pattern of smooth muscle cells, in particular the absence of smooth muscle cells around the ampulla, was noted. Our results suggest the presence of significantly different haemodynamic forces in different regions of the vortex vein system and indicate that the vortex vein system may play important roles in regulation of the choroidal circulation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Volume115
Early online date16 Jul 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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