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Jason Charng, Christine T. O. Nguyen, Bang V. Bui, Algis J. Vingrys; Age-Related Retinal Function Changes in Albino and Pigmented Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(12):8891-8899. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-7602.
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To investigate the effect of old age (3 vs. 18 months) on the retinal function of albino (Sprague-Dawley [SD]) and pigmented (Long-Evans [LE]) rats.
Electroretinograms (ERG) were recorded in both albino (SD; 3 months old n = 16, 18 months old n = 16) and pigmented (LE; 3 months n = 16, 18 months n = 5) rats. Data are analyzed for photoreceptor, ON-bipolar, and retinal ganglion cell (RCG) amplitudes as well as photoreceptor and ON-bipolar cell sensitivities.
In the pigmented strain, senescence results in decreased photoreceptor output, but ON-bipolar and retinal ganglion cell amplitudes were preserved, due to a relative increase in ON-bipolar cell sensitivity. In the albino rats, although ageing decreased both photoreceptor and ON-bipolar cell amplitudes, increased photoreceptor sensitivity produced a relative sparing of retinal ganglion cell amplitude.
Both strains show evidence of retinal plasticity with senescence, albeit at different retinal levels. The exact mechanisms underlying sensitivity changes require further investigation. Nevertheless, given the findings of previous human studies, pigmented rats appear to be a more appropriate model for human ageing. Future work using animals to study the effect of ageing need careful consideration in strain selection.
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