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September 1988

Glial Epiretinal Membranes and ContractionImmunohistochemical and Morphological Studies

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(9):1280-1285. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060140440049

• It has been suggested that glial cells do not contribute substantially to the contractile forces generated by epiretinal membranes. We have established a rabbit model in which epiretinal membranes form on the inferior peripheral retina after the injection of activated macrophages into the vitreous. By two months, the membranes were extensive but without evidence of traction. At four months, however, full-thickness retinal folds were present beneath the thick epiretinal membrane. A homogeneous glial cell composition was suggested by light microscopic examination of serial sections through several membranes. Immunohistochemical staining with anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein and antivimentin and immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that these thick epiretinal membranes were composed entirely of glial cells, which may cause mild traction on the retina; this traction is associated with cell alignment and the tissue bridges connecting the membrane and the retina. The fusiform densities and indented nuclei suggested that the glial cells within the membrane may possess some characteristics of myofibroblasts.