Evidence against melanin as the mediator of retinal phototoxicity by short-wavelength light.
Albino and pigmented (black-hooded) rats of the Sprague-Dawley and Long Evans strains, respectively, were compared in terms of their susceptibility to retinal damage by ultraviolet-A light. Anesthetized animals were exposed to ultraviolet-A light (lambda max = 360 nm) for 4 hr and retinal damage was assessed 1 week later by electroretinographic analysis and measurement of outer nuclear layer thickness. Albino and pigmented animals showed approximately the same severity of ultraviolet-A retinal damage as a function of exposure irradiance. Furthermore, both pigmentation strains showed swelling and vesiculation of rod inner segment mitochondria as an early manifestation of damage. An abbreviated study on a congenic rat strain (F344-c/+) of albino and pigmented littermates again demonstrated an equal susceptibility to ultraviolet-A phototoxicity for both pigmentation phenotypes. These findings provide evidence that melanin is not the mediator of short-wavelength phototoxicity to the retina, since damage readily occurred in albino animals completely lacking this chromophore.
Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.
Pigment Epithelium of Eye
Radiation Injuries, Experimental
Rats, Inbred Strains
Pub Type(s)Comparative Study
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.