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Frontiers of Medicine >> 2007, Volume 1, Issue 2 doi: 10.1007/s11684-007-0040-4

Ultramicrostructure and clinical implications of satellite foci in front of the head of pterygium

The Department of Ophthalmology, Tongji Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China

Available online: 2007-06-05

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In our previous studies, grey satellite foci were found in the front of heads of pterygia. This research was designed to investigate the ultramicrostructure and clinical implications of these satellite foci. The satellite foci were observed and counted under slit lamp biomicroscope. The patients with eye pterygia were divided into groups in terms of occupation, sex, age, length of history, grade of congestion, and size of the heads. The SPSS 13.0 software was used for statistical analysis. The cap areas and satellite foci were ultramicrostructurally examined. Among the total 62 eyes with pterygium, satellite foci were found in 34. The overall incidence of satellite foci was 54.8%. There were no significant differences in incidence among the subjects of different sex, age, and length of history. There were significant differences in incidence among the patients of different occupation, grades of congestion, and size of heads. Higher grades of congestion, outdoor occupations and larger pterygium heads were associated with higher incidence of satellite foci. High grades of congestion and bigger heads were also correlated with the number of satellite foci. Length of history bore no correlation with number of satellite foci. Histologically, the components of the cap areas and the foci were identical, with both consisting of mass of active fibroblasts. The activated fibroblasts existed in the natural tissue planes between Bowman s layer and basal cell layer. The fibroblasts in the satellite foci and the cap areas of a pterygium show some features of tumor cells and may play a vital role in the development and progression of a pterygium. The presence and amount of satellite foci around a pterygium can be used as an indicator for the speed of its growth.

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