Human conjunctival surface mucins: a quantitative study of normal and diseased (KCS) tissue.
The architecture and distribution of surface mucins were studied qualitatively and quantitatively by transmission electron microscopy in ruthenium red stained biopsies of the human conjunctiva. Six control specimens were compared with three from early keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and with three specimens from severe KCS cases. The area of the ruthenium red/OsO4/mucin reaction product on the conjunctival epithelial surface was measured by image analysis and the values were expressed in micron2 per micron length of epithelium. The total area of surface mucins was differentiated from the narrow zone of mucins in close contact with the microplicae. The value for total mucins in two cases of early KCS was higher (0.4 micron2/micron) than the control range (0.1-0.3 micron2/micron) due to the presence of large clumps of mucins on the surface. The values for microplical mucins in early and severe KCS were within the control range, but were an overestimate owing to the presence of abnormal structures, e.g. vesicles, and abnormal clumps on the surface. This morphometric technique has limitations, but with appropriate material it might be a useful tool for the identification of conjunctival surface mucins.
Lee, WR; Murray, SB; Williamson, J; McKean, DL
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