We investigated the changes in endothelial cytoskeletal F-actin that occur with aging, diabetes, and exposure to cytochalasin D. Rabbit corneas, human donor corneas (with or without polymegethism), and corneas of diabetic individuals were studied. Endothelial F-actin was stained using nitrobenzoxadiazole-phallacidin. Results of these experiments demonstrated that F-actin of the rabbit and human corneal endothelium was arranged in linear circumferential strands that formed a hexagonal array. After in vitro perfusion of cytochalasin D to the corneal endothelium, the F-actin became randomly distributed throughout the cytoplasm, the hexagonal shape of the endothelial cell was disrupted, and endothelial permeability to carboxyfluorescein increased. Changes in F-actin were also observed in the endothelium of the human corneas with polymegethism, and in donor tissue having had previous posterior chamber intraocular lens implantation. The corneas of diabetic individuals also showed marked irregular F-actin fibers crossing the endothelial cell cytoplasm. These abnormal patterns of F-actin may contribute in part to the polymegethism observed in the corneal endothelial cells and may be the result of constant stress in cell volume regulation, particularly in the corneas of diabetic individuals.
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