Orbital fibroblast heterogeneity may determine the clinical presentation of thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy, a process in which the orbital tissues become inflamed and are remodeled, occurs with a variable presentation. In some patients, eye muscle enlargement predominates. In others, the connective/adipose tissue enlargement appears the more significant problem. Orbital fibroblasts exhibit heterogeneous phenotypes in culture. Here we report that fibroblasts derived from the connective/adipose tissue depot are distinct from those investing the extraocular muscles. Connective tissue fibroblasts represent a bimodal population of cells with regard to the surface display of the glycoprotein, Thy-1. Perimysial fibroblasts in contrast express Thy-1 uniformly. In that regard, they resemble those from the skin. When subjected to a newly defined set of culture conditions, adipocyte differentiation occurs in up to 43% of the cells. All adipocytes examined failed to display Thy-1. Fibroblasts derived from perimysium and dermis uniformly do not differentiate into adipocytes when incubated under identical culture conditions. Both Thy-1(+) and Thy-1(-) connective tissue fibroblasts express the adipogenic trigger, peroxisome proliferator activator gamma, suggesting that differences in the potential for differentiation may reside with phenotypic attributes downstream from this receptor/adipogenic transcription factor. These observations enhance our understanding of orbital adipogenesis and define previously unrecognized differences between fibroblasts from the extraocular muscle and connective tissue.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, TJ; Koumas, L; Gagnon, A; Bell, A; Sempowski, GD; Phipps, RP; Sorisky, A

Published Date

  • January 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 87 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 385 - 392

PubMed ID

  • 11788681

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-972X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1210/jcem.87.1.8164


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States