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Daniel T. Organisciak, Ruth M. Darrow, Linda Barsalou, R. Krishnan Kutty, Barbara Wiggert; Susceptibility to Retinal Light Damage in Transgenic Rats with Rhodopsin Mutations. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(2):486-492. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0708.
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purpose. To determine relative light-induced retinal damage susceptibility in transgenic rats expressing mutations in the N- or C-terminal region of rhodopsin.
methods. Heterozygous transgenic rats, including P23H sublines 2 and 3 and S334ter sublines 4 and 9, were reared in dim cyclic light or in darkness before visible light exposure starting at various times of the day or night. Before exposure to light, some rats were given the synthetic antioxidant dimethylthiourea (DMTU). At various times after intense light treatment, rats were killed for determinations of rhodopsin and retinal DNA recovery, DNA fragmentation patterns, and Northern blot analysis of retinal heme oxygenase (HO)-1 and interphotoreceptor retinol binding protein (IRBP). Rod outer segments (ROSs) were isolated for Western blot analysis of rhodopsin using N- and C- terminal–specific monoclonal antibodies.
results. All rats incurred greater photoreceptor cell damage from exposure to light starting at 1 AM than from exposure at 5 PM. Among cyclic-light–reared rats, P23H line 3 animals were more susceptible to light-induced damage than P23H line 2 animals. S334ter rats exhibited retinal light damage profiles similar to those in normal rats. Dark-rearing potentiated retinal damage by light. However, dark-rearing alone prolonged photoreceptor cell life in P23H rats, but had no such effect in S334ter animals. DMTU pretreatment was effective in preventing or reducing light-induced retinal damage in all transgenic rats. S334ter rat ROSs contained the truncated form of rhodopsin. Intense light exposure resulted in DNA ladders typical of apoptotic cell death and the simultaneous induction of retinal HO-1 mRNA and reduced expression of IRBP.
conclusions. Light-induced retinal damage in transgenic rats depends on the time of day of exposure to light, prior light-or dark-rearing environment, and the relative level of transgene expression. Retinal light damage leads to apoptotic visual cell loss and appears to result from oxidative stress. These results suggest that reduced environmental lighting and/or antioxidant treatment may delay retinal degenerations arising from rhodopsin mutations.
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