Observations on the retinal pigment epithelium and retinal macrophages in experimental retinal detachment.
After experimental retinal detachment in rabbits macrophages are a prominent feature in the subretinal space or within the retina. Two sources for these macrophages are identified. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) may undergo metaplasia and actively 'bud'; the evolving macrophage is then formed by a vitreal protrusion of the cytoplasm of an RPE cell which is 'nipped off' by lateral protrusions from adjacent cells. In addition, in regions of RPE proliferation, blood-borne cells were found in Bruch's membrane and among the mass of proliferated RPE cells, suggesting that blood-borne cells may pass from the choroidal circulation through Bruch's membrane and the RPE layer.