Immunolocalization of integrins in the human retina

R. B. Brem, S. G. Robbins, D. J. Wilson, L. M. O'Rourke, R. N. Mixon, J. E. Robertson, S. R. Planck, J. T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Purpose. Integrins are cell surface proteins that participate in interactions between cells and with extracellular matrix. Binding of integrins to their ligands influences cell activities including proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Expression of integrin subunits from three different subfamilies was examined in human retina. Methods. Integrins were detected in frozen sections of two human retinas with an avidin-biotin-complex immunohistochemical technique, using nine different monoclonal antibodies specific for α2, α3, α4, α5, α6, α(v), β1, β2, and β3. One retina was from a patient who had conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma, and the other was from uninvolved regions of an eye with a choroidal melanoma. Results. All integrins tested were detectable in consistent patterns in two retinas. All except α2 and α4 were stained vibrantly in retinal and choroidal vessels. All alpha subunit staining of vessels showed overlap or close proximity to β1 staining. In addition to vessels, β1 was also present in the internal limiting membrane; α2, α3, α4, α5, and β2 were all found throughout much of the neural retina, albeit with distinctive staining patterns. Other than in association with vessels, α6 and α(v) were not detected in neural retina, and β3 was only weakly detected in the nerve fiber layer; α4 and β2 were expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium; β1 and β2 were strongly expressed in drusen present in one of the eyes. Conclusion. Nine integrin subunits have been found to have unique distributions in adult human retina. An understanding of the distribution in normal retina can serve as a useful contrast to patterns of staining associated with retinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3466-3474
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1994


  • cell-adhesion molecules
  • human retina
  • immunolocalization
  • integrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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