Purpose. Preretinal fibrovascular membranes (FVMs) form as a sequela to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), and their presence can lead to a severe decrease of vision. The purpose of this study was to determine whether periostin, a matricellular protein that plays a role in cell adhesion and migration, is associated with the formation of FVMs. Methods. One hundred six vitreous samples and 15 FVMs were obtained during vitrectomy on patients with PDR. Semiquantitative RT-PCR was performed to determine the periostin level of the mRNA. Immunohistochemical analyses were performed to determine the sites of periostin expression in the FVMs. ELISA was used to measure the concentrations of periostin, bFGF, and VEGF in the vitreous. Results. The periostin level of the mRNA was high in 10 of 10 FVMs tested but was barely detectable in the control retinas. Sequencing of the periostin PCR products revealed three splice variants of the FVMs. Immunohistochemical analysis showed colocalization of periostin and α-SMA in FVM cells. The concentration of periostin in the vitreous was significantly higher in patients with PDR than in the 31 eyes of patients with a macular hole or an epiretinal membrane (P < 0.001). Among the PDR patients, the mean vitreous level of periostin in eyes with FVMs was significantly higher than in those without FVMs (epicenter only; P < 0.001). The correlation between the vitreous concentrations of periostin and of bFGF and VEGF was not significant. Conclusions. These findings indicate that periostin may be involved in the development of FVMs.
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