[Cell biology of hyalocytes]

Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2003 Dec;107(12):866-82; discussion 883.
[Article in Japanese]


There is a group of cells, called hyalocytes, in the cortical vitreous. Although hyalocytes were discovered more than a hundred years ago, the molecular and cellular biological characteristics of hyalocytes have yet to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated various aspects of hyalocytes and, also performed triamcinolone acetonide (TA)-assisted vitrectomy to remove the hyalocytes for diabetic macular edema. Immunohistochemical analysis of rat eyes showed that 90% of hyalocytes were negative for ED1 but positive for ED2, indicating that hyalocyte is a tissue macrophage. Chimeric mice were created by transplanting bone marrow from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-transgenic mice into irradiated wild-type mice, showing the origin of hyalocyte to be bone marrow cells. Bovine hyalocytes were cultured successfully. The proliferation of hyalocytes was significantly enhanced by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and inhibited by transforming growth factor(TGF)-beta. Among these, PDGF-BB stimulated the proliferation most potently through the MEK 1 pathway. Hyalocyte migration assessed by double chamber assay was also stimulated by PDGF-BB and it was mediated by the PI3K and p38 MAPK pathways. Cellular contraction of hyalocyte was significantly enhanced by PDGF-BB and TGF-beta through Rho kinase, p44/42 MAPK, and protein kinase C pathways, as measured by collagen gel contraction assay. Next, the relationship between the vitreous cavity(VC) and the immune system was studied after intravitreous inoculation with ovalbumin (OVA). Injection of OVA into the VC of C 57 BL/6 mice resulted in suppressed systemic cell-mediated immunity to OVA as determined by the ear swelling assay. This aberrant immune responsiveness following VC injection of OVA was termed VC-associated immune deviation or VCAID. The phenomenon of VCAID was mediated by intravitreous antigen-presenting cells. The histological study of chimeric mice showed these cells to be intravitreous residential cells, namely hyalocytes. VCAID was abolished by intravitreous inflammation such as experimental autoimmune uveitis. Finally, TA-assisted vitrectomy for diabetic macular edema was performed to remove cortical vitreous, because it contained many hyalocytes which could secrete inflammatory cytokines including VEGF. Although the number of treated eyes was limited, the surgical results have been favorable so far. The investigation of hyalocytes would open a new avenue for better understanding and development of treatment for various vitreo-retinal diseases.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Vitrectomy
  • Vitreous Body / cytology*
  • Vitreous Body / immunology
  • Vitreous Body / physiology