Identification of glycosaminoglycans in age-related macular deposits

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996 Aug;114(8):1009-14. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1996.01100140217021.


We investigated the presence and localization of glycosaminoglycans in basal laminar deposit and drusen in age-related maculopathy. Conventional histological staining techniques and monoclonal antibodies specific for several glycosaminoglycans were used on paraffin-embedded human maculae. Furthermore, macular homogenates were analyzed with two-dimensional electrophoresis. Quantitative analysis of glycosaminoglycans was done spectrophotometrically using dimethylmethylene blue. Immunohistochemically, all basal laminar deposit stained positive for chondroitin 4-sulfate and focally positive for heparan sulfate proteoglycan. Drusen were not stained with any of the monoclonal antibodies. With two-dimensional electrophoresis, it was demonstrated that macular extracts with and without age-related maculopathy contained chondroitin sulfate. Heparan sulfate was only expressed in maculae with age-related maculopathy. The total amount of glycosaminoglycans was significantly higher in maculae with basal laminar deposit than in maculae without basal laminar deposit (P = .001). There were significant differences in the amount and composition of glycosaminoglycans between maculae with and without age-related maculopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcian Blue
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Macula Lutea / metabolism*
  • Macula Lutea / pathology
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Drusen / metabolism
  • Retinal Drusen / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Alcian Blue