Distribution of melanosomes across the retinal pigment epithelium of a hooded rat: implications for light damage.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1982; 22(2):139-44IO
Distribution of melanosomes across the retinal pigment epithelium of hooded rats (Long-Evans) is studied at the light microscopic and electron microscopic levels. This distribution is shown to be nonuniform: more melanosomes exist in the periphery than elsewhere and, importantly, there are very few melanosomes in a restricted area of the central portion of the superior hemisphere compared with the corresponding part of the inferior hemisphere. The region with fewest melanosomes is precisely the one that is highly susceptible to light damage. Because this region is the same in both pigmented and albino eyes, the paucity of melanin in this region is not the cause of its great sensitivity to light damage. Nor does light cause the nonuniform distribution of melanin. A possible explanation, involving a proposed vestigial tapetum, is given in order to explain the correlation of melanosome counts and sensitivity to light damage.