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L. Kisiswa, J. Albon, M. A. Wride, J. E. Morgan; Age-Related Dendrite Pruning in the Adult Brown Norway (BN) Rat Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):4050.
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To determine the extent in which age-related dendritic pruning occurs in the adult rat retina.
Whole-mount retinal explants from 6 (young) and 24-52 weeks (mature) old BN rats were prepared and RGCs were diolisticaly (DiI) labelled using BioRad gene gun and Hoeschst 33342. Changes in RGC dendritic complexity were assessed utilising Sholl analysis. RGC cell density was determined in the whole mounts while outer and inner nuclear layer (ONL and INL) cell number was assessed in retinal slices stained with Hoeschst 33342
RGC dendrite branching was significantly reduced (p<0.0002) in 24-52 compared to 6 weeks old RGCs, although dendrite length remained unchanged. There was marginal RGC loss (7%) in mature compared to young retinae. RGC density was significantly reduced (p<0.001) (26%) in the central (1mm from optic disc), but not in the peripheral (2-3mm from the optic disc) retina of 24-52 compared to 6 weeks old BN retina. Overall retinal area was significantly increased (p<0.001) (23%) in mature compared to younger BN retina. A significant reduction in the INL and ONL cell numbers were also significantly reduced (p<0.001 and p<0.001 respectively (25% and 20% respectively)) occurred in mature retina although there was no evidence of thinning of the layers.
Age-related reduction in RGC dendritic complexity implies that dendritic pruning occurs during adulthood. Developmental retinal expansion that occurs during the period studied, which accounts, in part for the reduction in RGC density, suggests that cell loss is marginal. Age-related dendritic modifications should be considered when determining the effects of disease models in RGC morphology.
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