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August 1996

Identification of Glycosaminoglycans in Age-Related Macular Deposits

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Kliffen, Mooy, and de Jong), Pathology (Dr Mooy and Ms Kerkvliet), and Clinical Genetics (Drs Luider and Huijmans), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(8):1009-1014. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100140217021

We investigated the presence and localization of glycosaminoglycans in basal laminar deposit and drusen in age-related maculopathy. Conventional histological staining techniques and monoclonal antibodies specific for several glycosaminoglycans were used on paraffin-embedded human maculae. Furthermore, macular homogenates were analyzed with two-dimensional electrophoresis. Quantitative analysis of glycosaminoglycans was done spectrophotometrically using dimethylmethylene blue. Immunohistochemically, all basal laminar deposit stained positive for chondroitin 4-sulfate and focally positive for heparan sulfate proteoglycan. Drusen were not stained with any of the monoclonal antibodies. With two-dimensional electrophoresis, it was demonstrated that macular extracts with and without age-related maculopathy contained chondroitin sulfate. Heparan sulfate was only expressed in maculae with age-related maculopathy. The total amount of glycosaminoglycans was significantly higher in maculae with basal laminar deposit than in maculae without basal laminar deposit (P=.001). There were significant differences in the amount and composition of glycosaminoglycans between maculae with and without age-related maculopathy.