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Circulating fibrocytes contribute to the myofibroblast population in proliferative vitreoretinopathy epiretinal membranes
  1. A M Abu El-Asrar1,
  2. S Struyf2,
  3. J Van Damme2,
  4. K Geboes3
  1. 1
    Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2
    Rega Institute for Medical Research, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Leuven, Belgium
  3. 3
    Laboratory of Histopathology and Cytochemistry, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Professor A M Abu El-Asrar, Department of Ophthalmology, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Old Airport Road, PO Box 245, Riyadh 11411, Saudi Arabia; abuasrar{at}ksu.edu.sa

Abstract

Background/aims: Fibrocytes, circulating cells that co-express markers of haematopoietic stem cells, leucocytes and fibroblast products, traffic to sites of tissue injury, differentiate into myofibroblasts and contribute to wound healing and fibrosis. We investigated the presence of fibrocytes and the expression of their chemotactic pathways CCL21/CCR7 and CXCL12/CXCR4 in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) epiretinal membranes.

Methods: Sixteen membranes were studied by immunohistochemical techniques.

Results: Cells expressing α-smooth-muscle actin (α-SMA), a marker of differentiation of fibrocytes into myofibroblasts, were present in all membranes. Cells expressing the haematopoietic stem-cell antigen CD34, the leucocyte common antigen CD45, CCR7, CXCR4, CCL21 and CXCL12 were noted in 50%, 75%, 68.8%, 100%, 80% and 93.8% of the membranes, respectively. Double immunohistochemistry indicated that all cells expressing CD34, CD45, CCR7, CXCR4, CCL21 and CXCL12 co-expressed α-SMA. The number of cells expressing CD34 correlated significantly with the numbers of cells expressing CXCL12 (rs = 0.567; p = 0.022) and CCL21 (rs = 0.534; p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Circulating fibrocytes may function as precursors of myofibroblasts in PVR membranes.

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Footnotes

  • Funding: This work was supported by the College of Medicine, Research Center, King Saud University.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The study was conducted according to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

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