Occlusion of retinal capillaries caused by glial cell proliferation in chronic ocular inflammation

E. Bianchi, G. Ripandelli, J. Feher, A. M. Plateroti, R. Plateroti, I. Kovacs, P. Plateroti, S. Taurone, M. Artico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inner blood-retinal barrier is a gliovascular unit in which glial cells surround capillary endothelial cells and regulate retinal capillaries by paracrine interactions. During chronic ocular inflammation, microvascular complications can give rise to vascular proliferative lesions, which compromise visual acuity. This pathologic remodelling caused by proliferating Müller cells determines occlusion of retinal capillaries. The aim of the present study was to identify qualitative and quantitative alterations in the retinal capillaries in patients with post-traumatic chronic ocular inflammation or post-thrombotic vascular glaucoma. Moreover, we investigated the potential role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and pro-inflammatory cytokines in retinal inflammation. Our electron microscopy findings demonstrated that during chronic ocular inflammation, thickening of the basement membrane, loss of pericytes and endothelial cells and proliferation of Müller cells occur with irreversible occlusion of retinal capillaries. Angiogenesis takes place as part of a regenerative reaction that results in fibrosis. We believe that VEGF and pro-inflammatory cytokines may be potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of this disease although further studies are required to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalFolia Morphologica (Poland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2015


  • Basement membrane
  • Electron microscopy
  • Il-1β
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Müller cells
  • PEDF
  • Tgfβ1
  • Tnfα
  • VEGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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