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Expression of the Anti-angiogenic Factor Endostatin within the Eye

1Fuchs A. V., 1Adamek-Kotowicz E., 2Lütjen-Drecoll E.,
1Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Anatomisches Institut LS II (Erlangen )
2Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Anatomisches Institut LS II (Erlangen )

Purpose: Factors inhibiting angiogenesis or inducing regression of vessels might be useful for the treatment of neovascularisation in the eye Endostatin was described as a potent antiangiogenetic factor in various tissues. Whether this molecule is necessary within the eye to prevent avascular structures from becoming vascularised is not known. In this study we investigated the distribution of endostatin in mice of different age groups since retinal vascularisation and regression of hyaloid vessels occur in the first two postnatal weeks.
Method: Fifty eyes of healthy mice aged one day to three months were investigated. Whole mounts of retina, iris and ciliary body as well as sagittal cryosections were stained with endostatin antibody. For further differentiation of vessels double staining with smooth muscle alpha actin (SMAA) was performed. The exact localisation of staining was analysed with the immunochemical preembedding method on ultrathin sections.
Results: Animals of all age groups showed an intense staining of the lens capsule, the anterior surface of the iris, the ciliary body, the trabecular meshwork and of the inner limiting membrane. Within the uvea also staining of vessels was found. Double staining with SMAA revealed that only capillaries were endostatin-positive. Retinal vessels remained unstained. Ultrastructural the staining was localised within basal membranes. In animals younger than three weeks intense staining of hyaloid vessel was noted.
Conclusions: The distribution of endostatin within the eye indicates that this molecule might play a role in preventing vessels from sprouting into avascular structures. The reason for the intense staining of hyaloid vessel is not known. It is possible that endostatin not only prevents angiogenesis but also induces regression of vessels.