Ultimate fate of rod outer segments in the retinal pigment epithelium

Pigment Cell Res. 1999 Oct;12(5):311-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0749.1999.tb00764.x.


To investigate the degradation pathway of rod outer segments (ROS) in vivo, we injected gold-labeled ROS into the subretinal space of rabbits using a pars plana approach. Histology and electron microscopy performed on the specimens 72 hr after ROS injection revealed that the retina over the injection site was reattached, the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells were intact, and gold granules were localized inside melanin granules and melanosomes. These results indicate that, in RPE, in vivo degradation of ROS is associated with melanosomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gold / metabolism
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / ultrastructure
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure*
  • Rabbits
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / metabolism*
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / ultrastructure*


  • Lipofuscin
  • Melanins
  • Gold