To characterize perifoveal intraretinal cavities observed around full-thickness macular holes (MH) using en face optical coherence tomography and to establish correlations with histology of human and primate maculae.
Retrospective nonconsecutive observational case series.
Macular en face scans of 8 patients with MH were analyzed to quantify the areas of hyporeflective spaces, and were compared with macular flat mounts and sections from 1 normal human donor eye and 2 normal primate eyes (Macaca fascicularis). Immunohistochemistry was used to study the distribution of glutamine synthetase, expressed by Müller cells, and zonula occludens-1, a tight-junction protein.
The mean area of hyporeflective spaces was lower in the inner nuclear layer (INL) than in the complex formed by the outer plexiform (OPL) and the Henle fiber layers (HFL): 5.0 × 10-3 mm2 vs 15.9 × 10-3 mm2, respectively (P < .0001, Kruskal-Wallis test). In the OPL and HFL, cavities were elongated with a stellate pattern, whereas in the INL they were rounded and formed vertical cylinders. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that Müller cells followed a radial distribution around the fovea in the frontal plane and a “Z-shaped” course in the axial plane, running obliquely in the OPL and HFL and vertically in the inner layers. In addition, zonula occludens-1 co-localized with Müller cells within the complex of OPL and HFL, indicating junctions in between Müller cells and cone axons.
The dual profile of cavities around MHs correlates with Müller cell morphology and is consistent with the hypothesis of intra- or extracellular fluid accumulation along these cells.