Br J Ophthalmol 85:6-10 doi:10.1136/bjo.85.1.6
  • Original Article
    • Clinical science

Ultrastructure of the vitreoretinal interface following plasmin assisted vitrectomy

  1. A Gandorfer,
  2. E Putz,
  3. U Welge-Lüβen,
  4. M Grüterich,
  5. M Ulbig,
  6. A Kampik
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians- University, Mathildenstrasse 8, 80336 München, Germany
  1. Professor Dr med A Kampikakampik{at}
  • Accepted 16 June 2000


AIMS To investigate the ultrastructure of the vitreoretinal interface following plasmin induced posterior vitreous detachment.

METHODS Plasmin (1 or 2 U/0.1 ml) was injected into the vitreous cavity of 24 eyes of freshly slaughtered pigs. The 24 fellow eyes received calcium-free and magnesium-free PBS and served as a control. After incubation at 37°C for 30 and 60 minutes, the globes were placed in fixative and hemisected. Specimens for light, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy were obtained from the posterior pole, the equator, and the vitreous base using a corneal trephine.

RESULTS All plasmin treated eyes showed posterior vitreous detachment. However, the inner limiting membrane (ILM) was covered by remnants of cortical vitreous at the posterior pole and at the equator. There was a direct correlation between the concentration and exposure times of plasmin and the degree of vitreoretinal separation. Eyes exposed to 1 U plasmin for 30 minutes had a dense network of residual collagen fibrils while those exposed to 1 U plasmin for 60 minutes had only sparse collagen fibrils covering the ILM. Eyes treated with 2 U plasmin for 60 minutes had a smooth retinal surface, consistent with a bare ILM. At the vitreous base there was no vitreoretinal separation. In all control eyes the vitreous cortex was completely attached to the retina. There was no evidence of retinal damage in any plasmin treated eye.

CONCLUSION Plasmin induces a cleavage between the vitreous cortex and the ILM without morphological changes to the retina. In contrast with previous reports, plasmin produces a smooth retinal surface and additional surgery is not required in this experimental setting. The degree of vitreoretinal separation depends on the concentration and length of exposure to plasmin.


  • Proprietary interest: none.