Two pore types in the inner-wall endothelium of Schlemm's canal

C. Ross Ethier, Fides M. Coloma, Arthur J. Sit, Mark Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. It has been reported that fixation conditions significantly influence the apparent pore density in the inner-wall endothelium of Schlemm's canal. In the present study, the manner in which fixation conditions affect the two subtypes of inner-wall pores, intracellular pores and intercellular (or border) pores, was investigated. METHODS. Outflow facility was measured in enucleated human eyes. Eyes were fixed under 'constant flow' or constant pressure conditions, microdissected to expose the inner wall of Schlemm's canal, and prepared for scanning electron microscopy. The density and diameter of the two subtypes of pores in the inner wall were measured. RESULTS. Intracellular pore density decreased with increasing postmortem time (P < 0.001) and increased with increasing volume of fixative passed through the outflow pathway (P < 0.001), whereas border pore density showed no dependence on these parameters (P > 0.25 and P > 0.15, respectively). Border pore density increased with increasing fixation pressure (P < 0.005), even though intracellular pore density showed no such dependence (P > 0.4). No correlation was found between outflow facility and the predictions of Poiseuille's law, Sampson's law, or the funneling theory for the hydraulic conductivity of the intracellular pores (P > 0.35) or the border pores (P > 0.1). CONCLUSIONS. The intracellular and border pores form two morphologically and functionally distinct populations in the inner wall of Schlemm's canal. The dependence of intracellular pore density on postmortem time and on volume of fixative passed through the outflow pathway suggests that these pores are artifacts of tissue fixation or processing conditions. That border pores do not depend on such conditions and that their presence is correlative with perfusion pressure suggests that this population may be nonartifactual. New histologic techniques for examining the inner wall of Schlemm's canal are necessary to determine the in vivo state of inner- wall pores and how they influence outflow facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2041-2048
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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