A method for preserving and visualizing the three-dimensional structure of the mouse zonule.


Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Mechanical failure of the ciliary zonule characterizes several ocular and systemic diseases. The mouse has emerged as a useful model system to investigate the composition and structure/function relationships of the zonule. However, visualizing the organization of the diaphanous fibers that comprise the zonule is technically challenging because the fibers do not take up conventional histological stains and are disrupted easily during processing. Here, we describe a simple method for maintaining physiological pressure within the mouse eye during fixation, and a gel-embedding technique for stabilizing the zonular fibers during subsequent tissue processing and imaging steps. This approach facilitates quantitative measurements of fiber number and cross-sectional dimensions and will allow the effects of targeted disruption of zonule components to be assessed systematically.

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