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Exp Eye Res. 1992 Dec;55(6):805-18.

Ultrastructural changes of the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium in Briard dogs with hereditary congenital night blindness and partial day blindness.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University of Linköping, Sweden.


The offspring of two Briard dogs (brother and sister) with congenital, clinically stationary night blindness showed an aggravation of the disease with severe impairment of day vision in addition to night blindness. This ultrastructural study was performed on four such second generation puppies at the age of 4 months. The neuroretina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) from four locations were studied: the central area (immediately temporal to the optic disc); the centre of the tapetal area; the upper periphery (border of tapetal area); and the lower periphery (non-tapetal area). The RPE showed large inclusions, seemingly lipid in nature, mainly in the central and tapetal areas of the retina. Small, membrane bound, electron-dense inclusions were scattered in the RPE cytoplasm in all areas examined. The small inclusions were found to be less numerous in normal than in affected dogs and may be lysosomal in nature. Forty to fifty percent of the rod outer segments in the tapetal area showed disorientation of the disc membranes, whereas the corresponding figures were 20-40% in the central and lower peripheral areas and 6-25% in the upper peripheral area. No structural abnormalities were found in the rod inner segments or synaptic bodies. The cones were better preserved. The inner retina appeared normal. These electron microscopic findings seem to correspond to a previously published electrophysiologic evaluation, indicating a defective and delayed rod function (virtually no scotopic a- and b-waves), a better preserved cone function (photopic flicker responses present, although reduced) and impaired RPE activity (a prominent, slow negative potential of long latency at the site of the c-wave). It appears that these Briard dogs, showing structural changes of the rod outer segments in addition to pigment epithelial inclusions, mainly located in the posterior pole, comprise a pigment epitheliopathy and retinopathy morphologically different from other hereditary canine retinopathies that have been described earlier in the literature and different from animal models of congenital night blindness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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