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K Narfström, S E Nilsson; Progressive retinal atrophy in the Abyssinian cat. Electron microscopy.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1986;27(11):1569-1576.
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Seven adult Abyssinian cats at different stages of a recessively inherited retinal degenerative disease (progressive retinal atrophy) were studied ultrastructurally. At the stage of early disease, in 2-yr-old cats, disorganized and vesiculated discs were found in less than half of the rod outer segments in the periphery, while similar changes were seen in the central retina only infrequently or in patches. Cones appeared normal in all areas of the retina at the early stage. With progression of disease, the lesions were more advanced in all areas of the retina, and involved both rods and cones, with the most severe alterations found in the midperiphery. At the advanced stage, in a 6-yr-old cat, both rods and cones were lost, the inner nuclear layer thus being separated from the pigment epithelium by Müller cell processes and a few remaining outer plexiform processes only. Remnants of photoreceptor outer and inner segments, macrophages, and what appeared to be displaced photoreceptor cell nuclei could be found occasionally in the subretinal space, however. Clumps of pigment granules were often observed in the photoreceptor layer in the non-tapetal fundus. The pigment epithelium remained morphologically intact as a single layer of uninterrupted cells throughout the disease process, as did tapetal cells and choriocapillaris. There was no difference in the severity of disease between the peripheral tapetal and non-tapetal fundus. In the inner retina, only minor alterations were observed. These changes appeared at a later time than photoreceptor degeneration, and were considered secondary to the latter.
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