Age-related loss of human vitreal viscoelasticity
Purpose: To determine the viscoelasticity of human vitreous bodies and its changes with age in order to benefit the understanding and therapy of vitreoretinal diseases. Methods: In a postmortem study, 190 human vitreous bodies were extracted from 33- to 92-year-old donors, analyzed with regard to their viscoelastic properties via dynamic mechanical analyses, and compared with bovine and porcine vitreous. Postmortem intervals and donor-related parameters were examined as potential parameters influencing vitreous viscoelasticity. Dynamic moduli of different hyaluronic acid (HA) solutions as well as human vitreous treated with HA injections were determined by frequency sweep tests. Results: With age the viscoelasticity of human vitreous bodies decreased significantly and independently of postmortem intervals, diabetes, and the donor's sex. The storage modulus G' and loss modulus G" correlated strongly with the donor's age with r = −0.789 and r = −0.764, respectively. Bovine and porcine vitreous bodies exhibited dynamic moduli comparable only to the viscoelastic properties of aged human vitreous and are thus limited models for the simulation of the human vitreous. The viscoelasticity of aged human vitreous bodies was found to be increased after intravitreal injections of highly concentrated HA. Conclusions: The present postmortem study is the first to show a significant age-related reduction in the viscoelasticity of entire human vitreous bodies. Highly concentrated HA injections may serve as a possible therapeutic approach for restoring the viscoelasticity of aged vitreous bodies. Translational Relevance: These findings improve the understanding and therapy of the vitreous liquefaction with age and the associated vitreoretinal diseases.
Stanzel, Boris V.
Briesen, Hagen von