What is it about?

Epiretinal membranes are thin sheets of tissue that develop pathologically in front of the retina and represent a serious threat to vision. Here we investigated one of its components, type-IV collagen, which is a protein of the extracellular matrix (i.e. the organic substance that is outside cells and fills the space between cells). Type-IV collagen is usually associated with basement membranes which, in turn, are always located in close proximity to cell membranes. Here we report that in epiretinal membranes type-IV collagen can be found far from cells, intermingled with other types of collagens.

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Why is it important?

The "ectopic" location of type-IV collagen is likely due to unknown interactions with other proteins of the extracellular matrix and it could contribute to the stiffness of the membrane and to its development


As epiretinal membranes are considered a fibrotic disease of the eye, it is possible that other fibrotic diseases in other organs (liver, kidney, lung) could be characterized by the same peculiar deposition of type-IV collagen. The role of type-IV collagen in fibrosis, therefore, could have been underestimated. Future investigations in other fibrotic organs will be helpful to clarify if type-IV collagen is located interstitially and if it could represent a new target for anti-fibrotic drugs.

eugenio bertelli
University of Siena

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Peculiar Pattern of Type IV Collagen Deposition in Epiretinal Membranes, Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, December 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1369/0022155419897258.
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