Quantitative study of the microvasculature and its endothelial cells in the porcine iris

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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The roles of the iris microvasculature have been increasingly recognised in the pathogenesis of glaucoma and cataract; however limited information exists regarding the iris microvasculature and its endothelium. This study quantitatively assessed the iris microvascular network and its endothelium using intra-luminal micro-perfusion, fixation, and staining of the porcine iris. The temporal long posterior ciliary artery of 11 isolated porcine eyes was cannulated, perfusion-fixed and labelled using silver nitrate. The iris microvasculature was studied for its distribution, orders and endothelial morphometrics. The density of three layers of microvasculature was measured. Endothelial cell length and width were measured for each vessel order. The iris has an unusual vascular distribution which consisted of abundant large vessels in the middle of the iris stroma, branching over a relatively short distance to the microvasculature located in the superficial and deep stroma as well as the pupil edge. The average vascular density of the middle, superficial, and deep layers were 38.9±1.93%, 10.9±1.61% and 8.0±0.79% respectively. Multiple orders of iris vessels (capillary, 6 orders of arteries, and 4 orders of veins) with relatively large capillary and input arteries (319.5±25.6μm) were found. Significant heterogeneity of vascular diameter and shape of the endothelia was revealed in different orders of the iris vasculature. Detailed information of topography and endothelium of the iris microvasculature combined with unique structural features of the iris may help us to further understand the physiological and pathogenic roles of the iris in relevant ocular diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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