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No age-related cell loss in three retinal nuclear layers of the Long-Evans rat

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2007

Department of Anatomy, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, P.R. China Department of Ophthalmology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, P.R. China
Department of Anatomy, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, P.R. China
Department of Anatomy, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, P.R. China
School of Life Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, P.R. China
Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand


The retina mainly contains ganglion, bipolar and photoreceptor cells which are distributed in the ganglion cell layer (GCL), inner nuclear layer (INL) and outer nuclear layer (ONL), respectively. Whether there is an age-related loss of these retinal cells remains not well understood. Cell density and the total number of cells were two commonly used measures to evaluate such age-related changes in most previous studies and provided controversial conclusions. The use of density measures as decisive data is problematic because the total area of the retina was expanded in aging, whereas the application of the total number of cells was limited for assessing ganglion cells. In this study, thus, we wanted to test whether there is an age-related cell loss in the GCL, INL and ONL and if so, whether such a loss is correlated to the convergence ratio of these cells. We used stereological procedures to quantify the total number of cells in the three retinal nuclear layers in six young and six aged Long-Evans rats. We found that during aging, the total volume of the retina remained unchanged, but the retina became thinner. There was no cell loss in each individual nuclear layer, and the ratio of the ONL to INL to GCL was preserved.

Research Article
2007 Cambridge University Press

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