We previously demonstrated endothelial phenotype heterogeneity in the vortex vein system. This study is to further determine whether regional differences are present in the cytoskeleton, junctional proteins and phosphorylated tyrosine labeling within the system.
The vortex vein system of twenty porcine eyes was perfused with labels for f-actin, claudin-5, VE-Cadherin, phosphorylated tyrosine and nucleic acid. The endothelial cells of eight different regions (choroidal veins, pre-ampulla, anterior ampulla, mid-ampulla, posterior ampulla, post-ampulla, intra-scleral canal and the extra-ocular vortex vein) were studied using confocal microscopy.
There were regional differences in the endothelial cell structures. Cytoskeleton labeling was relatively even in intensity throughout Regions 1 to 6. Overall VE-Cadherin had a non-uniform distribution and thicker width endothelial cell border staining than claudin-5. Progressing downstream there was an increased variation in thickness of VE-cadherin labeling. There was an overlap in phosphorylated tyrosine and VE-Cadherin labeling in the post-ampulla, intra-scleral canal and extra-ocular vortex vein. Intramural cells were observed that were immune-positive for VE-Cadherin and phosphorylated tyrosine. There were significant differences in the number of intramural cells in different regions.
Significant regional differences with endothelial cell labeling of cytoskeleton, junction proteins, and phosphorylated tyrosine were found within the vortex vein system. These findings support existing data on endothelial cell phenotype heterogeneity, and may aid in the knowledge of venous pathologies by understanding regions of vulnerability to endothelial damage within the vortex vein system. It could be valuable to further investigate and characterize the VE-cadherin and phosphotyrosine immune-positive intramural cells.