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October 1989

Decreased Penetration of Anchoring Fibrils Into the Diabetic Stroma: A Morphometric Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Eye Research Institute of the Retina Foundation and the Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(10):1520-1523. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020594047

• Morphometric measurements of epithelial adhesion structures were performed on electron micrographs of corneas of diabetic patients (ages 35 to 77 years) and controls of similar age (ages 21 to 79 years). Penetration of the anchoring fibrils from the deepest layer of the basal lamina into the stroma was significantly decreased in diabetics (0.41 ± 0.02 μm) compared with controls of similar ages (0.65 ± 0.03 μm). Significant thickening of the basal lamina in diabetics (50.1 ± 7.6 μm2/100 μm basal cell membrane) was noted compared with controls (32.0 ± 6.3 μm2/100 μm), but no significant differences were noted in the percentage of the basal cell membrane occupied by hemidesmosomes. Decreased penetration of the anchoring fibrils into the stroma may cause the loose adhesion between the stroma and basement membrane observed in diabetes.

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