BACKGROUND--A rat endothelial barrier antigen (EBA) recognised by a monoclonal antibody has been shown to be expressed strongly by endothelial cells of brain capillaries possessing a blood-brain barrier and only weakly expressed by fenestrated brain vessels. METHODS--In this study immunocytochemical methods for light and electron microscopy were used to study EBA distribution in the eye and orbital tissues of the rat. RESULTS--Blood-ocular barrier vessels in the optic nerve, retina, iris, and some vessels in th choroid and ciliary body were immunopositive for EBA. By pre-embedding immunocytochemistry for electron microscopy the antigen was observed on the luminal endothelial cell surface. CONCLUSION--Surprisingly, some non-barrier vessels in the ciliary body and choroid expressed EBA suggesting that it may play a broader role in endothelial properties than previously recognised. The functional significance of EBA remains to be elucidated.
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