Ultrastructural features of retinal dystrophy in mutant vitiligo mice

Izhak Nir, Nancy Ransom, Sylvia B. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Ultrastructural features of the retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor cells were studied in vitiligo (C57BL/6 mivit/mivit) mice. Eyes from 12-day- to 56-week-old animals were analysed. Abnormal photoreceptors were seen in 12-day-old mice. By 3 weeks malformed outer segments were evident in the posterior and equatorial retina, but normal photoreceptors were present in the periphery. By 28 weeks, a marked gradient in cell loss was evident, with a progressive increase in cell viability along the posterior-peripheral axis. Viable intact photoreceptors were still present in the peripheral retina of 56-week-old mice. Melanosome content varied between adjacent pigment epithelium cells in both the posterior and peripheral retina. In the choroid, however, a steep posterior-peripheral gradient in melanosome content was evident with highest pigmentation in the periphery. In the optic nerve head region abnormal development of photoreceptors was correlated with proliferation of abnormal pigment epithelium cells. Accumulation of rod outer segment debris in the posterior and peripheral subretinal space preceded photoreceptor cell death. Short pigment epithelial microvilli without proper attachment to photoreceptors are suggestive of alterations in pigment-epithelium-photoreceptor interaction, which might affect photoreceptor differentiation and phagocytosis of rod outer segments by pigment epithelium cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-377
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental eye research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995


  • mi gene
  • microphthalmia
  • photoreceptors
  • retinal degeneration
  • ultrastructure
  • vitiligo mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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