Background: Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a destructive complication of retinal detachment and vitreoretinal surgery which can lead to severe vision reduction by tractional retinal detachments. The purpose of this study was to determine the gene expression profile of epiretinal membranes (ERMs) associated with a PVR (PVR-ERM) and to compare it to the expression profile of less-aggressive secondary ERMs. Methodology/Principal Findings: A PCR-amplified complementary DNA (cDNA) library was constructed using the RNAs isolated from ERMs obtained during vitrectomy. The sequence from the 5′ end was obtained for randomly selected clones and used to generate expressed sequence tags (ESTs). We obtained 1116 nonredundant clusters representing individual genes expressed in PVR-ERMs, and 799 clusters representing the genes expressed in secondary ERMs. The transcriptome of the PVR-ERMs was subdivided by functional subsets of genes related to metabolism, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, signaling, and other functions, by FatiGo analysis. The genes highly expressed in PVR-ERMs were compared to those expressed in the secondary ERMs, and these were subdivided by cell adhesion, proliferation, and other functions. Querying 10 cell adhesion-related genes against the STRING database yielded 70 possible physical relationships to other genes/proteins, which included an additional 60 genes that were not detected in the PVR-ERM library. Of these, soluble CD44 and soluble vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 were significantly increased in the vitreous of patients with PVR. Conclusions/Significance: Our results support an earlier hypothesis that a PVR-ERM, even from genomic points of view, is an aberrant form of wound healing response. Genes preferentially expressed in PVR-ERMs may play an important role in the progression of PVR and could be served as therapeutic targets.
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