D2-40 expression demonstrates lymphatic vessel characteristics in the dural portion of the optic nerve sheath

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. Jan-Feb 2007;23(1):32-6. doi: 10.1097/01.iop.0000249431.04116.a8.


Purpose: To investigate the presence or absence of lymphatic vessels in the human optic nerve by means of immunohistochemistry.

Methods: Use of selective molecular markers to differentiate lymphatics from blood vessels in optic nerve specimens obtained after enucleation or exenteration procedures. Specifically, the lymphatic-specific monoclonal antibody D2-40 was used to identify lymphatic endothelial cells in contrast to CD-34 identification of endothelial cells of blood vessels. Optic nerves obtained from 10 enucleation and 2 exenteration specimens submitted for routine pathology. Paraffin-embedded sections of human optic nerve were immunostained with the lymphatic specific endothelial marker D2-40 and the vascular specific endothelial marker CD-34, using a double-staining method.

Results: Immunostaining with the lymphatic selective marker D2-40 positively demonstrated lymphatic vessels in the dura mater of the optic nerve. CD-34 counter-immunostaining identified blood vessels as separate vascular structures within the optic nerve meninges and adjacent ocular tissues. Positive D2-40 staining of the arachnoid mater in a nonvascular pattern was identified.

Conclusions: Vessels with features compatible with lymphatic vessels were demonstrated by means of a selective monoclonal immunohistochemical marker for lymphatic endothelium in the dura mater of the human optic nerve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Lymphatic / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Eye Enucleation
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lymphatic Vessels / anatomy & histology*
  • Optic Nerve / blood supply*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD34
  • monoclonal antibody D2-40