Experiments were performed to determine whether the transport properties of the ciliary epithelium vary over different regions. Rabbit iris-ciliary bodies were incubated under experimental or control conditions for 30 min before quick freezing, cryosectioning, dehydration and electron probe X-ray microanalysis. Cryosections were cut from three regions along the major axis of the iris-ciliary body, i.e., the anterior, middle and posterior (pars plicata) regions. In bicarbonate/CO2 solution, the epithelial cells of the anterior and middle regions contained more Cl and K than did those of the posterior region. These higher levels of Cl and K were reduced by the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor acetazolamide. Application of bumetanide, an inhibitor of the Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporter, resulted in significant increases in Cl and K in the anterior and middle regions but not in the posterior region. In bicarbonate-free solution, the ratio for K/Na contents was higher in the posterior than in the two more anterior regions; Na, K and Cl contents of epithelial cells in the three regions were otherwise similar. Cell composition did not differ significantly between the crests and valleys of the posterior region. The divergent responses to perturbation of epithelial transport in the different regions provide the first demonstration of functional heterogeneity along the major axis of the iris-ciliary body. The response to inhibition of carbonic anhydrase raises the possibility that the anterior aspect of the ciliary epithelium may be the major site of aqueous humor secretion.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2001
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