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Exp Eye Res. 2010 Mar;90(3):382-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2009.11.004. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Ultraviolet radiation transmittance of the mouse eye and its individual media components.

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Texas Eye Research and Technology Center, University of Houston College of Optometry, 4901 Calhoun Rd,. 505 J. Davis Armistead Bldg., Houston, TX 770204-2020, USA. <>


Recently, the mouse has become the preferred animal model in ophthalmic research. Therefore, there is a need for enhanced understanding of the mouse eye to validate its use in different experimental setting. The purpose of this study was to determine the ocular transmittance of the whole mouse eye, the cornea and the crystalline lens, particularly in the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) wavebands. This was carried out using a non-cuvette based fiber optic spectrometer system and the resulting transmittance curves were compared with published cone spectral response curves and mouse ocular transmittance data. First, transmittance curves of the whole mouse eye were measured by removing a small disc of sclera from the posterior pole to provide an anterior to posterior optical path. No statistical difference was found between left and right eye in each of the four mice sampled, therefore, all eight eyes were included in the final statistical analysis. The average of five test measurements from each left and right eye for the four test mice showed a transmittance cut off at approximately 310 nm. Secondly, the cornea with a scleral rim was excised and transmittance curves obtained for all eight eyes. This data showed an average transmittance cut off at 280 nm for the cornea. Similarly measured data for the excised crystalline lens showed UVR transmittance down to 310 nm. The good correlation between total ocular UVR transmittance and the sum of the individually measured components (i.e. the cornea and the crystalline lens) supported the validity of our method and its findings. This experiment demonstrated that the mouse cornea transmits more UV-B (280-315 nm) than the rabbit and the human corneal transmittance. The mouse crystalline lens on the other hand showed a cut off in the UV-B at 310 nm, which is at a much lower UV-B wavelength than the approximate UV-A (315-400 nm) cut off for the human crystalline lens at around 390 nm. The increased transmittance of UVR in the mouse eye serves its vision, since the mouse has a cone photopigment peaking at approximately 350 nm. Due to the above stated differences between the mouse and the human it is concluded that the mouse is not an ideal model for the human eye in experiments involving UVR.

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