Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Expression of Angiostatin in the Cornea

Philipp W., Speicher L.
Innsbruck University, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Optometry, Austria

Purpose: It is believed that a balance between angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors may be responsible for the avascularity of the normal cornea. Angiostatin, a proteolytic internal fragment of plasminogen, is a naturally occuring potent angiogenesis inhibitor which selectively inhibits endothelial cell proliferation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether angiostatin is present in the normal cornea and whether it is differently expressed in various corneal diseases particularly in those with neovascularization.
Method: 5 normal human corneas with a scleral rim from donor eyes and 20 inflamed and vascularized human corneal buttons obtained at the time of penetrating keratoplasty in patients with various corneal diseases underwent immunohistochemistry using a highly specific antibody against angiostatin.
Results: In normal corneas angiostatin was strongly expressed particularly by basal epithelial cells. In inflamed and vascularized corneas positive immunostaining of angiostatin was also found in endothelial cells and the basement membrane of newly formed vessels in the stroma and on keratocytes/fibroblasts in the stroma.
Conclusions: The results of the present study clearly show that angiostatin is expressed in the epithelium of normal corneas and thus may play an important role in the maintenance of the avascularity of the normal cornea. Furthermore, the increased expression of angiostatin in inflamed and vascu

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