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Anne B. Fulton, Janice Dodge, Ronald M. Hansen, Theodore P. Williams; The Rhodopsin Content of Human Eyes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(8):1878-1883.
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purpose. To measure the total amount of rhodopsin in human eyes across the life span and to
test the hypothesis that the rhodopsin content of infants’ and the
elderly’s eyes is lower than at other ages.
methods. Rhodopsin was extracted from retinal and pigment epithelial fractions
of 196 eyes of 102 donors, ages 27 weeks’ gestation through 94 years,
using quantitative procedures. To recover photopigment bleached by
unavoidable light exposure, the fractions from 78 eyes were incubated
with 9-cis retinal. The total photopigment (retinal plus pigment
epithelial fractions) per eye was examined for significant changes with
age, using the higher value from pairs of eyes.
results. The median rhodopsin content of the higher eye of adults is 6.45 nmoles
(range, 3.33–10.84 nmoles) with 8 nmoles or more recovered from 28%
of all adult eyes. The rhodopsin content of infants’ eyes (<12 months
postterm) is significantly lower than that of older individuals and
increases with age. After infancy, no change with age is found. For
both infants and adults, 9-cis retinal significantly
increases the amount of photopigment recovered without reducing the
variance in the amount of photopigment recovered. The rhodopsin content
is estimated to be 50% of the median adult amount early in infancy,
approximately 5 weeks postterm (95% confidence interval, 0–10 weeks
conclusions. A developmental increase in rhodopsin content occurs during infancy.
Thereafter rhodopsin content remains constant. The amount of rhodopsin
recovered from human eyes is quite variable. Bleaching alone cannot
explain the variability.
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