Morphologic features of vitreous cortex hyalocyte captured with OCT

Richard Rosen, MD, shares insights on how imaging can capture hyalocytes and their movement without the use of dyes.

In Denver, Colorado, Richard Rosen, MD, presented a talk entitled, “Assessing vitreous cortex hyalocyte morphology and dynamics in the living human eye.” Rosen is a professor at New York Eye & Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.

Video transcript

Hi. I'm Richard Rosen. And today we presented from my lab imaging of hyalocytes from a series of control subjects.

So hyalocytes are resident macrophages within the vitreous gel, and they are responsible for keeping the vitreous clear. The vitreous is the clear space between the lens and the retina. And so the hyalocytes are type of macrophage that continually surveils the area and clears of any debris that blocks the light from getting to the retina. And also is responsible for maintaining the immunological privilege of the vitreous, keeping it from any inflammatory conditions.

The process we used was—we started out with OCT, actually looking at cells with commercial OCT, and then advanced to our adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscope. And we were able to image by taking sequences every five minutes over an hour, we can actually see these cells moving around and within the vitreous gel structure and actually watch their different activities.

So the paper itself was describing the different morphological features. So there are different stages of activation of these cells. And we looked at the series of different populations of the cells within each individual. And so we recorded basically the distribution of the numbers of the different types of cells and their various movement, the variety of the movement, the speed of the movement, and just the characteristics of how they move.

So these cells are very fluid, they have a lot of different processes, and these processes extend in and out, and they grab on to different factors and clear the space. And this is really the first time that these cells have been imaged this way in humans without any sort of markers or any sort of dye or anything like that. So that's basically the crux of the talk.

So these cells are implicated in formation of epi-cellular membranes, which cause macular pucker, which are involved in proliferative diabetic retinopathy involved in proliferative vitreoretinopathy. And so it's the first time we've really been able to see these cells, the same way that we can see them in a culture.

And so we're hoping that we'll be able to study subjects with actual diseases, such as diabetes, cell subjects with different types of epiretinal membranes, and characterize how these cells behave and what's their role, and how, how we can potentially change their behavior so that we can help to eliminate them in some way without having to necessarily do surgery.