In the course of mammalian lens development, a transient capillary meshwork known as the pupillary membrane (PM) forms, which is located at the pupil area; the PM nourishes the anterior surface of the lens and then regresses to make the optical path clear. Although the involvement of apoptotic process has been reported in the PM regression, the initiating factor remains unknown. We initially found that regression of the PM coincided with the development of iris motility, and iris movement caused cessation and resumption of blood flow within the PM. Therefore, we investigated whether the development of the iris's ability to constrict and dilate functions as an essential signal that induces apoptosis in the PM. Continuous inhibition of iris movement with mydriatic agents from postnatal day 7 to day 12 suppressed apoptosis of the PM and migration of macrophage toward 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, and defines a novel function of the iris during ocular development in addition to the well-known function, that is, optimization of light transmission into the eye.
|American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
|Published - Mar 2006
- Ocular development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)