Iris movement mediates pupillary membrane regression

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In the course of mammalian lens development, a transient capillary meshwork called as the pupillary membrane (PM) forms. It is located in the pupil area to nourish the anterior surface of the lens, and then regresses to clear the optical path. Although the involvement of the apoptotic process has been reported in PM regression, the initiating factor remains unknown. We initially found that regression of the PM coincided with the development of iris motility, and that iris movement caused cessation and resumption of blood flow within the PM. Therefore, we investigated whether the development of the capacity of the iris to constrict and dilate can function as an essential signal that induces apoptosis in the PM. Continuous inhibition of iris movement with mydriatic agents suppressed apoptosis of the PM and resulted in the persistence of PM in rats. The distribution of apoptotic cells in the regressing PM was diffuse and showed no apparent localization. These results indicated that iris movement induced regression of the PM by changing the blood flow within it. This study suggests the importance of the physiological interactions between tissues-in this case, the iris and the PM-as a signal to advance vascular regression during organ development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-880
Number of pages9
JournalNippon Ganka Gakkai zasshi
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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