Brief exposure to damaging light causes focal recruitment of macrophages, and long-term destabilization of photoreceptors in the albino rat retina

Matt Rutar, Jan M. Provis, Krisztina Valter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To characterize the long-term spatiotemporal features of light-mediated retinal degeneration. Methods: SpragueDawley rats were exposed to 1000 lux for 24h, then kept in dim light (5 lux), for up to 56 days. Animals were killed at 0, 3, 7, 28, and 56 days post-exposure, and retinas were prepared for immunohistochemistry. Outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness and TUNEL labeling were used to quantify photoreceptor death. Antibodies to opsins, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), and ED1 were used to assess the retina. Results: At 0 days post-exposure, we detected photoreceptor death 2mm superior to the optic disc (the "hotspot"), and ED1-positive macrophages in the retinal vasculature and underlying choroid. By 3 days, the ONL was thinner and there was gliosis in the outer retina, where ED1 positive macrophages were also present. Few ED1 positive cells remained at 28 days. At 56 days, there were TUNEL-positive nuclei in the penumbra, and increased FGF-2, and GFAP expression by Mller cells (MCs). In inferior retina, outer segment length was initially reduced, but recovered to near-normal by 28 days. Conclusions: Short exposure to damaging light destabilizes the retina adjacent to a hotspot of degeneration, so that the damaged region expands in size over time. Recruitment of macrophages is associated with the early phase of damage, but not with the longer term photoreceptor loss in the penumbra. Features of the focal and progressive retinal damage in this model are reminiscent of the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-643
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Volume35
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

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