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J G Flannery, D B Farber, A C Bird, D Bok; Degenerative changes in a retina affected with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1989;30(2):191-211.
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The eyes of a 17-year-old male donor who was affected with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa with variable expressivity have recently become available for study. Initial macroscopic examination of the fundus revealed bone spicules located in 180 degrees of the postequatorial fundus centered on the inferonasal quadrant. Light microscopic examination of the retina showed degeneration within each quadrant characterized by an absence of rods and cones in the equatorial areas, and the presence of photoreceptors in the more peripheral and central retina. Ultrastructural examination disclosed photoreceptors that were abnormal in all regions when compared to a control eye from a 26-year-old donor. Intact rods were restricted to the peripheral quadrants, and intact cones were identified in the fovea and far periphery. In areas of intermediate degeneration, many outer segments were either shortened and disorganized or absent. Regions of severe degeneration were characterized by the complete loss of the photoreceptors and apposition of the external limiting membrane to the retinal pigment epithelium. The density of rods and cones was found to be substantially lower than normal in all regions. In areas of relatively intact photoreceptor outer segments, we found ultrastructural evidence of recent phagocytic activity, and fluorescence microscopy revealed no unusual accumulation of lipofuscin within the pigment epithelium or subepithelial debris. The choroid and inner retina were normal throughout the eye. The normal condition of the choroid, retinal pigment epithelium, and inner retina implies that the primary disorder resides within the photoreceptor cell.
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