, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 287-301

Effect of light on oxygen-induced retinopathy in the rat model

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The purpose of this study was to establish whether exposure to intense lighting favors the development or aggravates experimental oxygen-induced retinopathy in the new-born rat. Five groups of Wistar rats were studied. The control group was maintained for the first 14 days of life under conditions of cyclical (12L∶12D) lighting at 12 Lx in room air. Two other groups were subjected, for the same amount of time, to semi-darkness (2 Lx; 12L∶12D), one with room air and the other with supplemental 80% oxygen. The final two groups were exposed to the same room air and hyperoxic treatments under intense lighting conditions (600 Lx; 12L∶12D).

After the treatment period, four rats were randomly chosen from each group, sacrificed and their retinas examined under electron microscope. Marked structural changes were seen only in the photoreceptor outer segments of those rats exposed to intense light.

In eighty-five of the remaining rats retinal vascular morphology was examined in retinal flat mounts after intracardiac injection of India ink. Retinopathy was observed in rats treated with hyperoxia but no significant differences could be attributed to the light conditions under which the retinopathic rats had been maintained.

In the rest of the rats, axonal transport along the optical pathways was evaluated after intravitreal injection of (3H) taurine. In the two groups exposed to hyperoxia, axonal transport was altered, but less markedly in those exposed to intense lighting than in those exposed to semi-darnkess. Intense illumination under conditions of normoxia favors axonal transport. Exposure to intense lighting does not seem to aggravate oxygen induced retinopathy in the rat though it does produce structural lesions of the photoreceptors.