Staining of the internal limiting membrane with the use of heavy brilliant blue G

Ophthalmic Res. 2012;48 Suppl 1:21-5. doi: 10.1159/000339845. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Background: Brilliant blue G (BBG) is frequently used in chromovitrectomy to facilitate internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling. A study was initiated to evaluate if heavy BBG is safe and effective in staining the ILM.

Methods: We studied 30 eyes, 23 with idiopathic macular holes and 7 of patients with diabetic macular edema. Removal of the ILMs was assisted by heavy BBG staining. In cases with histopathological correlation the ILMs were evaluated with hematoxylin and eosin, Masson's trichrome, periodic acid-Schiff and glial fibrillary acidic protein staining. In addition, immunohistochemistry was also performed using specific antibodies for vimentin, neuron-specific enolase, factor VIII and CD68. Using the Image-Pro Plus software of Media Cybernetics Co. we found an average thickness in ILMs.

Results: Of the ILM specimens sent, 19/30 (63.33%) could not be processed properly because of the limited sample material, recognizing only fragments of dispersed fibrillar material. In macular hole ILMs we found an average thickness of 1.3 ± 0.65 µm, and in diabetic macular edema ILMs an average thickness of 6.2 ± 1.4 µm.

Conclusions: In heavy BBG-assisted ILM peeling we observed no intraoperative or postoperative complications after a mean follow-up of 12 months. Heavy BBG could be an effective and safe vehicle for staining the ILM.

MeSH terms

  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Basement Membrane / pathology*
  • Basement Membrane / surgery
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Coloring Agents*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema / diagnosis
  • Macular Edema / metabolism
  • Macular Edema / surgery
  • Male
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Retinal Diseases / surgery
  • Retinal Perforations / diagnosis
  • Retinal Perforations / metabolism
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery
  • Rosaniline Dyes*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Vitrectomy


  • Biomarkers
  • Coloring Agents
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • coomassie Brilliant Blue