Ultrastructural studies of primary congenital glaucoma in rabbits

Paul A. Knepper*, William Goossens, David G. McLone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The cause of congenital glaucoma is unknown. Methods: To determine whether the site of impaired aqueous outflow is the entrance to the trabecular meshwork (TM), within the TM, the aqueous drainage plexus, or a combination thereof, the process of TM development was examined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy on postnatal day 3 and weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 in New Zealand rabbits homozygous for the buphthalmic (bu/bu) gene compared with age-matched controls. Results: Openings to the entrance of the TM in congenital glaucoma were observed, and there was no evidence of an endothelial membrane occluding aqueous flow to the TM. The morphology of the congenital glaucoma TM was abnormal in all bu/bu rabbits by 2 weeks and was characterized by a smaller entrance to the TM at the iris base, smaller intertrabecular openings within and between the trabecular lamellae, and at 6 weeks, iris pillars with extensive lateral extensions in the angle recess. Most intertrabecular spaces were open, however, the inner intertrabecular spaces adjacent to the aqueous plexus were compressed. Conclusion: These results suggest the development of congenital glaucoma, which involves a mutation in an autosomal recessive gene and leads to loss of function of a gene(s) required for the differentiation of the TM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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