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Rod photopigment deficits in albinos are specific to mammals and arise during retinal development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2001

SIMON GRANT
Affiliation:
Department of Sensorimotor Systems, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK Present address: Simon Grant, Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK. E-mail: s.grant@city.ac.uk
NEHA N. PATEL
Affiliation:
Department of Sensorimotor Systems, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK
ALISDAIR R. PHILP
Affiliation:
Department of Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK
CHARLOTTE N.B. GREY
Affiliation:
Department of Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK
RICHARD D. LUCAS
Affiliation:
Department of Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK
RUSSELL G. FOSTER
Affiliation:
Department of Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W6 8RF, UK
JAMES K. BOWMAKER
Affiliation:
Department of Visual Science, University College London, Institute of Ophthalmology, London EC1V 9EL, UK
GLEN JEFFERY
Affiliation:
Department of Visual Science, University College London, Institute of Ophthalmology, London EC1V 9EL, UK

Abstract

Adult albino mammals have specific retinal defects, including reduced numbers of rod photoreceptors. To examine when this rod deficit arises and whether it exists in nonmammalian albinos, we have used absorbance spectrophotometry to measure photopigment levels in dark-adapted eyes taken from three groups of pigmented and albino animals: adult rodents (rats and mice), developing rats, and mature Xenopus frogs. Rhodopsin concentrations were consistently and significantly reduced in mammalian albinos compared to their wild-type counterparts from before the time of eye opening, but photopigment levels were similar in frogs of both pigmentation phenotypes. The results strongly suggest that deficits in the rod cell population arise early in development of the mammalian albino retina, but do not generalize to nonmammalian mutants lacking retinal melanin.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2001 Cambridge University Press

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