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M.E. Rayborn, J.G. Hollyfield, V.L. Bonilha; Age–Related Changes in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium Apical Surface . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):3049.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose:Age–related changes in the retina are precursors of visual impairment among the elderly. Little is know of the mechanisms underlying the age–related retinal changes. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) performs highly specialized, unique functions essential for homeostasis of the neural retina. Many of these functions are specifically associated with its apical surface. Functional alterations in the RPE can lead to photoreceptor degeneration. In the present study the age–related changes in the RPE apical surface were investigated. Methods: The eyes of F344BN 3 month old (young adult) and 24 month old (aged) rats were fixed in 2% paraformaldehyde + 2.5% glutaraldehyde in 0.1M cacodylate buffer and processed for transmission electron microscopy (TEM). For tissue immunohistology, eyes were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde and processed for cryosectioning. Cryosections were probed with several antibodies specific to proteins previously localized to the RPE apical surface, some of which have been shown to be specifically affected during aging in other epithelial cells. Results: Electron microscopy revealed a decrease in microvilli density of the RPE apical microvilli supporting the photoreceptor outer segments of the aged rats. The labeling of the RPE apical surface with several RPE apical proteins was less intense in the aged rats. Conclusions: RPE apical microvilli decreased in density in aging rats.
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