Laboratory Study

Eye (1999) 13, 577–583; doi: 10.1038/eye.1999.142

Blue light induced apoptosis in rat retina

Jiangmei Wu1, Stefan Seregard1, Berit Spångberg1, Margareta Oskarsson1 and Enping Chen1

1St Erik's Eye Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence: Enping Chen, MD, PhD, St Erik's Eye Hospital, Karolinska Institute, S-112 82 Stockholm, Sweden Tel: +46 08 6723042 Fax: +46 08 6723352 e-mail: enping.chen@ophste.hs.sll.se

This study was supported by Karolinska Institutets Forskningsfonder, Edwin Jordans Stiftelse för Oftalmologisk Forskning, Einar och Anna Keys Resebidragsstiftelse, Carmen och Bertil Regners Stiftelse för Forskning inom Området Ögonsjukdomar, Stiftelsen Kronprinsessan Margaretas Arbetsnämnd för Synskadade

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Abstract

Purpose To explore cell death in blue light induced retinal damage.

Methods Sprague-Dawley rats reared under cyclic light were exposed continuously to diffuse blue light (400-480 nm) at 0.64 W/m2 for 3 or 6 h after 22 h of dark adaptation. The rats were kept in darkness and killed immediately, 8,16 and 24 h following light exposure. The retinal damage by the blue light was examined with a transmission electron microscope. The cell death was characterised by in situ terminal dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) and gel electrophoresis.

Results During the 24 h following light exposure, photoreceptor cell death was characterised by progressive condensation and margination of the chromatin, shrinkage or convolution and fragmentation of the nucleus, condensation of the cytoplasm, and formation of apoptotic bodies along with rapid removal of dying cells from damaged areas in the absence of inflammatory response. The TUNEL-positive nuclei were scattered individually in the outer nuclear layer just after light exposure. A wave of massive TUNEL labelling of photoreceptor nuclei peaked at 8-16 h and dropped at 24 h following light exposure. The distribution of TUNEL-positive nuclei was located predominantly at the upper temporal region of the retina, which was the most sensitive area to the damage caused by blue light. Furthermore, the multiples of internucleosomal cleavage of 180-200 base pairs were demonstrated at corresponding time points.

Conclusion Photoreceptor cell apoptosis is seen early after the retina is damaged by blue light.

Keywords:

Apoptosis; Blue light; Cell death; Light damage; Retina

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