The combined effects of diabetes and ionising radiation on the rat retina: an ultrastructural study

Alan Stitt, Heather Anderson, T. A. Gardiner, I. McIntyre, D. B. Archer

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The combined effect of STZ-diabetes and ionising radiation on the rat retina was investigated. Wistar rats, which had been diabetic for 6 months, were irradiated with a single dose of x-rays (1500 cGy) and the ultrastructural effects evaluated at 4-10 mths post-irradiation. At 4 months post-irradiation, the outer nuclear layer of the retina was greatly reduced in thickness and the photoreceptor outer segments were disorganised and reduced in length. In addition, the nerve fibre layer contained many cytoid bodies and there were many redundant basement membrane tubes throughout the inner retina. By 6 months post-irradiation, the photoreceptor cells were virtually absent, bringing the external limiting membrane into close apposition to the RPE. Throughout large areas of the outer retina, RPE cells were hypertrophic and some had proliferated into the inner retina. In many regions, proliferating retinal capillaries were observed within the RPE layer, and at 8 months post-irradiation, some vessels extended into the inner retina accompanied by RPE cells. At 10 months post-irradiation, the RPE was atrophic and degenerative with retinal glial cells coming into contact with Bruch's membrane. In some areas, the glia which had breached Bruch's membrane had invaded the underlying choroid. Where glial cells contacted the choriocapillaries, the vessels assumed the appearance of retinal vessels with plump endothelia and no fenestrations. This study has described a progressive inner retinal ischemia, with cytoid bodies, capillary non-perfusion and general atrophy of the inner retina intensifying markedly with increasing post-irradiation time.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent eye research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1994

Bibliographical note

LR: 20061115; JID: 8104312; 18883-66-4 (Streptozocin); ppublish


  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental/complications
  • Neuroglia/pathology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye/pathology
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental/complications
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retina/radiation effects/ultrastructure
  • Retinal Degeneration/pathology
  • Retinal Neovascularization/etiology/pathology
  • Streptozocin

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