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Pannus is an abnormal layer of fibrovascular tissue or granulation tissue. Common sites for pannus formation include over the cornea, over a joint surface (as seen in rheumatoid arthritis), or on a prosthetic heart valve. Pannus may grow in a tumor-like fashion, as in joints where it may erode articular cartilage and bone.
The term pannus is often used incorrectly to refer to a panniculus (a hanging flap of tissue).
In people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, pannus tissue eventually forms in the joint affected by the disease, causing loss of bone and cartilage. From Autoimmunity and Disease by Harley Y. Tse and Michail K. Shaw:
|“||Chronic stages of the disease typically coincide with the formation of a structure known as a pannus. A pannus is a membrane of granulation tissue composed of mesenchyme- and bone marrow-derived cells. Formation of the pannus stimulates the release of IL-1, platelet-derived growth factor, prostaglandins, and substance P by macrophages, which ultimately cause cartilage destruction and bone erosion.||”|
In ophthalmology, pannus refers to the growth of blood vessels into the peripheral cornea. In normal individuals, the cornea is avascular. Chronic local hypoxia (such as that occurring with overuse of contact lenses) or inflammation may lead to peripheral corneal vascularization, or pannus. Pannus may also develop in diseases of the corneal stem cells, such as aniridia. It is often solved by peritomy.