Novel insights into the pathophysiology of proliferative vitreoretinopathy: The role of vitreoschisis-induced vitreous cortex remnants

Koen A van Overdam, Thierry P P van den Bosch, Peter G van Etten, Gurmit S Uppal, Marc Veckeneer, Robert M Verdijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: We previously hypothesized a causal relationship between vitreoschisis-induced vitreous cortex remnants (VCR) and the development of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). This study aims to substantiate this association through histopathological analysis of surgical specimens in support of strategies to improve therapeutic outcomes.

METHODS: A descriptive, prospective, non-consecutive case series. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed on membranes removed from the peripheral retinal surface during initial vitrectomy for primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) (n = 11) or recurrent retinal detachment (n = 12). The clinical aspect of the membranes ranged from loose-meshed membranes visualized with triamcinolone to more fibrotic membranes stained with trypan blue.

RESULTS: Consistent with the clinical presentation, histopathological analysis revealed membranes with different area characteristics. Paucicellular lamellar collagen-rich areas, suggestive of VCR, appeared to transition to areas of increased cellularity and eventually more fibrotic areas of low cellularity. Five different area characteristics could be identified that seemed to correspond to five histopathological stages in PVR formation, with lamellar VCR collagen acting as an essential precondition: 1. Lamellar collagen, low cellularity (hyalocytes). 2. Lamellar collagen, increased cellularity (hyalocytes, glial cells). 3. Lamellar collagen, high cellularity (macrophages, glial cells, RPE-cells). 4. Early fibrosis, decreased cellularity (myofibroblasts). 5. Fibrosis, low cellularity (myofibroblasts).

CONCLUSION: These findings confirm the role of VCR in preretinal PVR formation posterior to the vitreous base. We propose that the presence of VCR over the retinal surface should be qualified as a risk factor for PVR formation. Detection and adequate removal of VCR may improve the success rate of vitreoretinal surgeries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1749-e1759
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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