• Elaine R. Berman
Part of the Perspectives in Vision Research book series (PIVR)


The space between the lens, ciliary body, and retina is filled with a transparent gel or liquid that is variously termed the vitreous body, vitreous humor, vitreus (Denlinger et al., 1980; Balazs and Denlinger, 1984), or vitreous. The latter term seems most appropriate and is used throughout this chapter. The vitreous is an extracellular matrix that occupies the major part of the globe in most if not all vertebrate species. A large body of experimental evidence supports the view that the vitreous is an extended extracellular matrix of the retina and could be considered embryologically as the basement membrane of the retina (Swann, 1980). Other concepts have also been developed in which the vitreous is considered as a “typical connective tissue compartment surrounded by epithelial (lens, ciliary body) and neuroglial (retinal Müller cells) cells which form basal laminae around it” (Balazs and Denlinger, 1984). Further studies at the molecular level are clearly needed to reconcile these differing points of view.


Hyaluronic Acid Retinal Detachment Collagen Fibril Ciliary Body Vitreous Humor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, W. S., Otterbein, E. C., and Wardi, A. H., 1977, Isolation and characterization of the sulfated glycosaminoglycans of the vitreous body, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 498: 167–175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armand, G., and Chakrabarti, B., 1987, Conformational differences between hyaluronates of gel and liquid human vitreous: Fractionation and circular dichroism studies, Curr. Eye Res. 6: 445–450.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armand, G., and Reyes, M., 1983, A new chromatographic method for the fractionation of hyaluronic acid, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 112: 168–175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arsenis, C., Kuettner, K. E., and Eisenstein, R., 1988, Isolation and partial characterization of neutrophil elastase inhibitors from bovine vitreous and aorta, Curr. Eye Res. 7: 95–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayad, S., and Weiss, J. B., 1984, A new look at vitreous-humour collagen, Biochem. J. 218: 835–840.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Balazs, E. A., 1961, Molecular morphology of the vitreous body, in: The Structure of the Eye ( G. K. Smelser, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 293–310.Google Scholar
  7. Balazs, E. A., 1965, Amino sugar-containing macromolecules in the tissues of the eye and ear, in: The Amino Sugars, Vol. 2A ( E. A. Balazs and R. W. Jeanloz, eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 401–460.Google Scholar
  8. Balazs, E. A., and Denlinger, J. L., 1984, The vitreous, in: The Eye, Vol. Ia (H. Dayson, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 533–589.Google Scholar
  9. Balazs, E. A., Laurent, T. C., and Laurent, U. B. G., 1959, Studies on the structure of the vitreous body, J. Biol. Chem. 234: 422–430.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Berman, E. R., 1963, Studies on mucopolysaccharides in ocular tissues. I. Distribution and localization of various molecular species of hyaluronic acid in the bovine vitreous body, Exp. Eye Res. 2: 1–11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berman, E. R., and Gombos, G. M., 1969, Studies on the incorporation of U-14C-glucose into vitreous polymers in vitro and in vivo, Invest. Ophthalmol. 8: 521–534.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Berman, E. R., and Michaelson, I. C., 1964, The chemical composition of the human vitreous body as related to age and myopia, Exp. Eye Res. 3: 9–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Berman, E. R., and Voaden, M., 1970, The vitreous body, in: Biochemistry of the Eye ( C. N. Graymore, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 373–471.Google Scholar
  14. Bloom, G. D., and Balazs, E. A., 1965, An electron microscopic study of hyalocytes, Exp. Eye Res. 8: 249–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Burke, J. M., 1980, An analysis of rabbit vitreous collagen, Connective Tissue Res. 8: 49–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chen, C.-H., and Chen, S. C., 1981, Studies on soluble proteins of vitreous in experimental animals, Exp. Eye Res. 32: 381–388.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Denlinger, J. L., Eisner, G., and Balazs, E. A., 1980, Age-related changes in the vitreous and lens of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), Exp. Eye Res. 31: 67–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fitch, J. M., Mentzer, A., Mayne, R., and Linsenmayer, T. F., 1988, Acquisition of type IX collagen by the developing avian primary corneal stroma and vitreous, Dev. Biol. 128: 396–405.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gartner, J., 1986, Electron-microscopic study on the fibrillar network and fibrocyte—collagen interactions in the vitreous cortex at the ora serrata of human eyes with special regard to the role of disintegrating cells, Exp. Eye Res. 42: 21–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Geanon, J. D., Tripathi, B. J., Tripathi, R. C., and Barlow, G. H., 1987, Tissue plasminogen activator in avascular tissues of the eye: A quantitative study of its activity in the cornea, lens, and aqueous and vitreous humors of dog, calf and monkey, Exp. Eye Res. 44: 55–63.Google Scholar
  21. Gloor, B. P., 1981, The vitreous, in: Adler’s Physiology of the Eye ( R. A. Moses, ed.), C. V. Mosby, St. Louis, pp. 255–276.Google Scholar
  22. Gombos, G. M., and Berman, E. R., 1967, Chemical and clinical observations on the fate of various vitreous substitutes, Acta Ophthalmol. 45: 794–803.Google Scholar
  23. Gonzalez, R. G., Cheng, H.-M., Barnett, P., Aguayo, J., Glaser, B., Rosen, B., Burt, C. T., and Brady, T., 1984, Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging of the vitreous body, Science 223: 399–400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grabner, G., Boltz, G., and Forster, O., 1980, Macrophage-like properties of human hyalocytes, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 19: 333–340.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Green, K., Balazs, E. A., and Denlinger, J. L., 1984, Aqueous humor and vitreous production, in: Geriatrics 3 ( D. Platt, ed.), Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 352–372.Google Scholar
  26. Hamburg, A., 1959, Some investigations on the cells of the vitreous body, Ophthalmologica 138: 81–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hawkins, K. N., 1986, Contribution of plasma proteins to the vitreous of the rat, Curr. Eye Res. 5: 655–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Heinamaki, A. A., and Lindfors, A. S. H., 1988, Free amino acids in rat ocular tissues during postnatal development, Biochem. Int. 16: 405–412.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Larsson, L., and Osterlin, S., 1985, Posterior vitreous detachment. A combined clinical and physicochemical study, Albrecht von Graefes Arch. Klin. Exp. Ophthalmol. 223: 92–95.Google Scholar
  30. Linsenmeyer, T. F., and Little, C. D., 1978, Embryonic neural retina collagen: In vitro synthesis of high molecular weight forms of type II plus a new genetic type, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 75: 3235–3239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Machemer, R., 1988, Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR): A personal account of its pathogenesis and treatment, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 29: 1771–1782.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. McGahan, M. C., 1985, Ascorbic acid levels in aqueous and vitreous humors of the rabbit: Effects of inflammation and ceruloplasmin, Exp. Eye Res. 41: 291–298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mecham, R. P., Hinek, A., Cleary, E. G., Kucich, U., Lee, S. J., and Rosenbloom, J., 1988, Development of immunoreagents to ciliary zonules that react with protein components of elastic fiber microfibrils and with elastin-producing cells, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 151: 822–826.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moorehead, L. A., 1983, Vitreous, in: Biochemistry of the Eye ( R. E. Anderson, ed.), American Academy of Ophthalmology, San Francisco, pp. 145–163.Google Scholar
  35. Moseley, H., and Foulds, W. S., 1982, The movement of xenon-133 from the vitreous to the choroid, Exp. Eye Res. 34: 169–179.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moseley, H., Foulds, W. S., Allan, D., and Kyle, P.M., 1984, Routes of clearance of radioactive water from the rabbit vitreous, Br. J. Ophthalmol. 68: 145–151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Newsome, D. A., Linsenmayer, T. F., and Trelstad, R. L., 1976, Vitreous body collagen. Evidence for a dual origin from the neural retina and hyalocytes, J. Cell Biol. 71: 59–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Osterlin, S. E., 1968, The synthesis of hyaluronic acid in vitreous. III. In vivo metabolism in the owl monkey, Exp. Eye Res. 7: 524–533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Osterlin, S. E., 1969, The synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the vitreous. IV. Regeneration in the owl monkey, Exp. Eye Res. 8: 27–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Osterlin, S. E., and Jacobson, B., 1968a, The synthesis of hyaluronic acid in vitreous. I. Soluble and particulate transferases in hyalocytes, Exp. Eye Res. 7: 497–510.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osterlin, S. E., and Jacobson, B., 1968b, The synthesis of hyaluronic acid in vitreous. II. The presence of soluble transferase and nucleotide sugar in the acellular vitreous gel, Exp. Eye Res. 7: 511–523.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pirie, A., 1969, The vitreous body, in: The Eye, Vol. 1 (H. Dayson, ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 273–297.Google Scholar
  43. Pirie, A., Schmidt, G., and Waters, J. W., 1948, Ox vitreous humour. I. The residual protein, Br. J. Ophthalmol. 32: 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Reddy, T. S., Birkle, D. L., Packer, A. J., Dobard, P., and Bazan, N. G., 1986, Fatty acid composition and arachidonic acid metabolism in vitreous lipids from canine and human eyes, Curr. Eye Res. 5: 441–447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rodriguez-Peralta, L. A., 1968, Hematic and fluid barriers of the retina and vitreous body, J. Comp. Neurol. 132: 109–124.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sakai, L. Y., Keene, D. R., and Engvall, E., 1986, Fibrillin, a new 350-kD glycoprotein, is a component of extracellular microfibrils, J. Cell Biol. 103: 2499–2509.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sebag, J., 1987, Age-related changes in human vitreous structure, Albrecht von Graefes Arch. Klin. Exp. Ophthalmol. 225: 89–93.Google Scholar
  48. Sebag, J., and Balazs, E. A., 1989, Morphology and ultrastructure of human vitreous fibers, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 30: 1867–1871.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Steinberg, R. H., 1986, Research update: Report from a workshop on cell biology of retinal detachment, Exp. Eye Res. 43: 695–706.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Streeten, B. W., 1982, Disorders of the vitreous, in: Pathobiology of Ocular Disease ( A. Garner and G. K. Klintworth, eds.), Marcel Dekker, New York, pp. 1383–1419.Google Scholar
  51. Streeten, B. W., and Gibson, S. A., 1988, Identification of extractable proteins from the bovine ocular zonule: Major zonular antigens of 32kD and 250kD, Curr. Eye Res. 7: 139–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Streeten, B. W., Licari, P. A., Marucci, A. A., and Dougherty, R. M., 1981, Immunohistochemical comparison of ocular zonules and the microbifrils of elastic tissue, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 21: 130–135.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Streeten, B. W., Swann, D. A., Licari, P. A., Robinson, M. R., Gibson, S. A., Marsh, N. J., Vergnes, J.-P., and Freeman, I. L., 1983, The protein composition of the ocular zonules, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 24: 119–123.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Swann, D. A., 1980, Chemistry and biology of the vitreous body, Int. Rev. Exp. Pathol. 22:2–64. Swann, D. A., 1987, Biochemistry of the vitreous, Bull. Soc. Belge Ophthalmol. 223: 59–72.Google Scholar
  55. Swann, D. A., and Constable, I. J., 1972a, Vitreous structure. I. Distribution of hyaluronate and protein, Invest. Ophthalmol. 11: 159–163.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Swann, D. A., and Constable, I. J., 1972b, Vitreous structure. II. Role of hyaluronate, Invest. Ophthalmol. 11: 164–168.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Swann, D. A., and Sotman, S. S., 1980, The chemical composition of bovine vitreous-humour collagen fibres, Biochem. J. 185: 545–554.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Swann, D. A., Constable, I. J., and Harper, E., 1972, Vitreous structure. III. Composition of bovine vitreous collagen, Invest. Ophthalmol. 11: 735–738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Swann, D. A., Constable, I. J., and Caulfield, J. B., 1975, Vitreous structure. IV. Chemical composition of the insoluble residual protein fraction from the rabbit vitreous, Invest. Ophthalmol. 14: 613–618.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Szirmai, J. A., and Balazs, E. A., 1958, Studies on the structure of the vitreous body, Arch. Ophthalmol. 59: 34–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Taylor, C. M., and Weiss, J. B., 1985, Partial purification of a 5.7K glycoprotein from bovine vitreous which inhibits both angiogenesis and collagenase activity, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 133: 911–916.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ueno, N., and Chakrabarti, B., 1988, Monitoring in situ circular dichroism of the intact vitreous: A new approach, J. Biochem. Biophys. Methods 15: 349–356.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ueno, N., Sebag, J., Hirokawa, H., and Chakrabarti, B., 1987, Effects of visible-light irradiation on vitreous structure in the presence of a photosensitizer, Exp. Eye Res. 44: 863–870.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. van Bockxmeer, F. M., Martin, C. E., and Constable, I. J., 1983, Iron-binding proteins in vitreous humour, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 758: 17–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. van der Rest, M., and Mayne, R., 1988, Type IX collagen proteoglycan from cartilage is covalently cross-linked to type II collagen, J. Biol. Chem. 263: 1615–1618.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Wiggert, B., Lee, L., Rodrigues, M., Hess, H., Redmond, T. M., and Chader, G. J., 1986, Immunochemical distribution of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein in selected species, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 27: 1041–1049.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Wright, D. W., and Mayne, R., 1988, Vitreous humor of chicken contains two fibrillar systems: An analysis of their structure, J. Ultrastruct. Mol. Struct. Res. 100: 224–234.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine R. Berman
    • 1
  1. 1.Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical SchoolJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations