Purpose: To examine immunohistochemically whether extracellular matrix (ECM) of the filtering bleb and of cultured human subconjunctival fibroblasts contains latent TGF beta binding protein-1 (LTBP-1) and TGF beta.
Methods: An enucleated human eye that had undergone trabeculectomy and cultured human subconjunctival fibroblasts were processed for light microscopic immunohistochemistry. Antibodies against LTBP-1, collagen types, fibrillin-1 and TGF beta s were used. TGF beta 1 was located by detecting beta 1-latency associated peptide (LAP).
Results: LTBP-1, beta 1-LAP and fibrillin-1 were all located in the subepithelial ECM as well as in the basal epithelial cells of the conjunctiva over the filtering bleb. TGF beta 2 and beta 3 were immunolocated to epithelium and/or fibroblasts/keratocytes. ECM deposited in confluent fibroblast cultures was positive for beta 1-LAP, LTBP-1 and fibrillin-1, whereas sparse cells were negative.
Conclusions: LTBP-1, beta 1-LAP and fibrillin-1 are co-localized to the ECM of the filtering bleb and of cultured conjunctival fibroblasts. Both conjunctival epithelium and fibroblasts are considered to be the source of TGF beta in healing bleb. ECM secreted by in vivo and in vitro subconjunctival fibroblasts may works as a scavenger or repository of TGF beta.