May 2007
Volume 48, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2007
In-vitro Rat Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Electrophysiology
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • S. Chen
    NEI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
  • T. Banzon
    NEI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
  • L. Wilson
    NEI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
  • S. S. Miller
    NEI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2007, Vol.48, 69. doi:
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      S. Chen, T. Banzon, L. Wilson, S. S. Miller; In-vitro Rat Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Electrophysiology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):69.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose:: To develop an in vitro rat preparation of RPE-choroid (RPE-Ch) and retina-RPE-choroid (R-RPE-Ch) which could be used to analyze light/dark induced changes in RPE physiology. In this study, we determined some of the membrane mechanisms that help determine trans-RPE and intracellular apical and basolateral membrane potentials (VA, VB) and transepithelial potential and resistance (TEP, Rt).

Methods:: RPE-Ch or R-RPE-Ch layer were isolated from adult Long Evans rat eyes and mounted in a modified Ussing chamber that allowed penetration of the basolateral membrane with intracellular microelectrodes and continuous and independent perfusion of the bathing solutions on either side of the tissue. This allowed continuous monitoring of VA, VB, TEP, Rt, ratio of apical to basolateral membrane resistance (RA/RB), and total trans-tissue voltage and resistance (TTP, TTR).

Results:: The diameter of the RPE-Ch preparation is only 2 mm; we confirmed the viability of the intact monolayer qualitatively using a live/dead assay kit. After mechanically mounting the tissue in a modified Ussing chamber, the TEP and Rt of the RPE-Ch was 1.9±0.8 mV and 100±14Ω •cm2 (n =7), respectively. Apical or basal Ba2+ (1mM) altered TEP and Rt (n = 3). The R-RPE-Ch had a TTP of 3.2±0.9 mV and TTR of 167±53 Ω •cm2 (n =14). VB and VA were -45±2.5mV and -48.2±2.8mV (n=5), respectively, indicating an apical positive TEP. RA/RB was 0.7±0.3 (n=5), indicating that RB is considerably larger than RA. Increasing basal [K]o from 5 to 25 mM depolarized the basolateral membrane by ~8mV (n=2). These changes were blocked by basal Ba2+. Decreasing [K]o in the apical bath from 5 to 2mM hyperpolarized the apical membrane by ~2 mV (n =1). Step increases in apical [K]o, from 5 to 25mM, depolarized the apical membrane by ~6mV (n=3). Apical and basal [K]o-induced voltage changes were 90% blocked (n =2) by the prior addition of Ba2+ to the apical or basal baths. Elevation of [Ca2+] in the basal bath from 1.8mM to 10 mM increased TTP by 0.6mV (p < 0.001; n= 5). This increase was inhibited by 50% (p< 0.01; n=3) in less than 1 minute after the addition of DIDS (1mM) to the basal bath.

Conclusions:: The rat R-RPE-Ch preparation shows evidence of Ba2+-sensitive K channels at the apical and basolateral membranes. The relative depolarization of these membranes suggests the presence of other conductive or electrogenic mechanisms whose equilibrium potential is more positive than EK. DIDS and extracellular [Ca2+] -sensitive changes in VB suggests the presence of Ca2+-activated Cl- channels but more definitive experiments remain to be done to verify that possibility.

Keywords: retinal pigment epithelium • electrophysiology: non-clinical • ion channels 

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