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E Essner, R M Pino, R A Griewski; Permeability of retinal capillaries in rats with inherited retinal degeneration.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1979;18(8):859-863.
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The permeability of retinal capillaries in RCS rats with inherited retinal degeneration was investigated with horseradish peroxidase used as a tracer. Five-week-old rats showed typical degeneration of photoreceptor cells and accumulation of outer segment debris, but retinal capillaries were not permeable to peroxidase. At 10 weeks of age, capillaries in the inner retina appeared normal, but many in the outer retina were leaky. Peroxidase activity in these latter vessels was demonstrable in the basal laminae of endothelial cells and pericytes and in vesicles on the luminal and abluminal sides of the endothelium. Tracer also permeated the intercellular spaces in the surrounding area. The number of leaky capillaries in the outer retina increased during the course of the dystrophy. The site of the leak in permeable capillaries has not yet been established; it may be due to an alteration of the endothelial cell junctions or of transcellular vesicular transport. In the choriocapillaris, peroxidase permeated Bruch's membrane and the basal infoldings between adjacent pigment epithelial cells; tracer progression along the intercellular spaces was blocked at the zonulae occludens at the apicolateral border. The RCS rat may be a useful model for studying the morphological basis of changes in capillary permeability associated with retinal degeneration.
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