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Experimental carotenoid retinopathy

II. Functional and morphological alterations of the rabbit retina after acute canthaxanthin application with small unilamellar phospholipid liposomes

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Eight “chinchilla bastard” pigmented rabbits were treated intravenously with sonicated phospholipid liposomes (SUV) consisting predominantly of egg yolk phosphatidylcholine (PC). Four rabbits were treated with canthaxanthin incorporated into PC liposomes in a single injection and fractionated over a period of 19 days. The total amount of PC used was a single dose of 260 mg administered as a 50-ml suspension and 13.7 mg/fraction given as a 5-ml suspension. The total amount of canthaxanthin used was a single 40 mg as a 50-ml suspension and 2.1 mg/fraction as 5-ml suspension. Electroretinography showed that canthaxanthin produced a depression of thea-waves and prolongation of the scotopica- andb-wave peak latencies. A single high-dose injection of PC and PC plus canthaxanthin resulted in a transitory reduction in ERG amplitudes. A single injection of PC and canthaxanthin also produced hypernormala-waves within the recovery time. Electron microscopy demonstrated that in contrast to the controls (PC), the canthaxanthin-treated rabbits showed alterations in the RPE/photoreceptor complex, indicating that these layers are the primary site of canthaxanthin effects on the retina.

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Correspondence to U. Weber.

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Weber, U., Michaelis, L., Kern, W. et al. Experimental carotenoid retinopathy. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 225, 346–350 (1987).

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  • Electron Microscopy
  • Depression
  • Retina
  • Single Dose
  • Carotenoid