Aging changes in Bruch's membrane. A histochemical and morphologic study

Ophthalmology. 1990 Feb;97(2):171-8.


Using histochemical staining techniques and electron microscopy, the authors have examined the histochemical properties and ultrastructure of Bruch's membrane in 30 human eyes with an age range of 1 to 95 years. The results analyzed in three age groups (0-30 years, 31-60 years, and older than 60 years) show that there is a progressive accumulation of lipids in Bruch's membrane with relation to age. Differences were found in the specific types of lipids in individual eyes. Five eyes stained for neutral lipids alone, four stained predominantly for phospholipids, and nine stained intensely for both neutral lipids and phospholipids. The deposits were associated with the progressive destruction of the native architecture of Bruch's membrane but no correlation was identified between specific inclusions in Bruch's membrane with a particular lipid. These results are significant to age-related macular disease (ARMD), and the lipid rich barrier in Bruch's membrane is implicated as a cause of photoreceptor dysfunction and pigment epithelial detachment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Membranes / metabolism
  • Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Middle Aged
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Phospholipids