Corneal endothelial junctions and the effect of ouabain

Mitchell Aaron Watsky, M. D. McCartney, B. J. McLaughlin, H. F. Edelhauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Paired rabbit corneas were perfused in vitro for endothelial permeability (P(ac)) determination with glutathione bicarbonate Ringer's solution (GBR) and GBR plus ouabain (10-4M). Results indicated no difference in P(ac) between the two groups (3.39 vs 3.67, respectively) despite significantly greater stromal swelling in the group perfused with ouabain. Freeze-fracture microscopy of similarly perfused corneas revealed intact tight junctional complexes in both groups, although the tight junctional complex of perfused corneas appeared less organized than that of freshly enucleated, nonperfused controls. Gap junctions were abundant as observed in freeze-fracture replicas of GBR-perfused endothelium, and appeared to be decreased or absent in ouabain-perfused endothelium. These results indicate that corneal endothelial tight junctions are unaffected by perfusion with ouabain, whereas gap junctions appear to be lost. The permeability and freeze-fracture data reaffirms the importance of tight junctions as permeability barriers and indicates that gap junctions are not of primary importance for maintenance or control of the corneal endothelial barrier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-941
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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