Immunohistochemical investigations were conducted on surgically excised epiretinal membranes to determine how cellular and extracellular components of proliferative vitreoretinopathy membranes change with time. Specimens of less than four months' duration contained a significantly higher proportion of retinal pigment epithelial cells than later membranes. No association was found between membrane duration and the content of collagen subtypes I to IV and laminin, but 'early' specimens contained significantly more fibronectin than did 'late' membranes. Fibronectin and collagens I, III, and IV showed a variable relationship with glial cells and were most consistently associated with retinal pigment epithelial and fibroblast-like cells. These observations may explain some of the surgical features of epiretinal membranes.
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