Esterified cholesterol is highly localized to Bruch's membrane, as revealed by lipid histochemistry in wholemounts of human choroid

Academic Article


  • Accumulation of neutral lipids in Bruch's membrane (BrM) is a major age change in human retina and contributes to the formation of extracellular lesions associated with age-related macular degeneration. We developed a BrM-choroid wholemounting technique suitable for reliable staining and evaluated different fluorescent lipid dyes for topographic semiquantitative analysis of BrM lipids. Thin BrM-choroid complexes with partially stripped choroid from 10 aged donor eyes were prepared with an optimized wholemounting technique. Preparation quality was monitored by examining 1-μm-thick sections of representative samples. The staining patterns of Nile Red, BODIPY 493/503, filipin for unesterified cholesterol (UC-F), filipin for esterified cholesterol (EC-F), and Oil Red O in wholemounts were compared with their staining patterns in chorioretinal sections, using wide-field epi-fluorescence microscopy. Wholemounts exhibited optimal flatness on the BrM side. Reduced tissue thickness allowed reliable dye penetration and staining of BrM. Only EC-F was with high specificity localized to BrM and demonstrated an intense and distinct granular staining pattern not previously appreciated in chorioretinal sections. All other lipid dyes also stained choroidal or retinal tissue intensely. No dye provided perfect characteristics in regard to representing all neutral lipid classes present in BrM or to fluorescence intensity. Nevertheless, only EC-F was highly localized to BrM with a specific granular pattern. Because direct assays indicate that esterified cholesterol is abundantly present in BrM, we consider EC-F the most valuable choice for analyzing neutral lipid deposits in human BrM. © The Histochemical Society, Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rudolf M; Curcio CA
  • Start Page

  • 731
  • End Page

  • 739
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 8