PurposeTo determine the level of epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2) expression in preretinal membranes from surgical patients with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) or epiretinal membranes (ERMs). EMP2, an integrin regulator, is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium and understanding EMP2 expression in human retinal disease may help determine whether EMP2 is a potential therapeutic target.
MethodsPreretinal membranes were collected during surgical vitrectomies after obtaining consents. The membranes were fixed, processed, sectioned, and protein expression of EMP2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The staining intensity (SI) and percentage of positive cells (PP) in membranes were compared by masked observers. Membranes were categorized by their cause and type including inflammatory and traumatic.
ResultsAll of the membranes stained positive for EMP2. Proliferative vitreoretinopathy-induced membranes (all causes) showed greater expression of EMP2 than ERMs with higher SI (1.81 vs. 1.38; P = 0.07) and PP (2.08 vs. 1.54; P = 0.09). However all the PVR subgroups had similar levels of EMP2 expression without statistically significant differences by Kruskal-Wallis test. Inflammatory PVR had higher expression of EMP2 than ERMs (SI of 2.58 vs. 1.38); however, this was not statistically significant. No correlation was found between duration of PVR membrane and EMP2 expression. EMP2 was detected by RT-PCR in all samples (n = 6) tested.
ConclusionsAll studied ERMs and PVR membranes express EMP2. Levels of EMP2 trended higher in all PVR subgroups than in ERMs, especially in inflammatory and traumatic PVR. Future studies are needed to determine the role of EMP2 in the pathogenesis and treatment of various retinal conditions including PVR.