C57BL/6J-vit/vit mouse model of retinal degeneration: light microscopic analysis and evaluation of rhodopsin levels

Exp Eye Res. 1992 Dec;55(6):903-10. doi: 10.1016/0014-4835(92)90017-m.


The C57BL/6J-vit/vit mouse is a newly described model of retinal degeneration in which photoreceptor cells die over the course of a year and the retinal pigment epithelium is unevenly pigmented. The present study utilized histological and biochemical techniques to assess the progression of the retinal degeneration in the vit/vit mouse ages 2 weeks to 8 months. Results of systematic morphometric evaluation indicated that the inner nuclear and plexiform layers of the retina are similar in thickness to age-matched C57BL/6J controls, but the outer plexiform layer is significantly thinner by 4 months. Rows of photoreceptor cells are lost at a rate of about one per month beginning at 2 months of age. By 8 months, the photoreceptor cell nuclei have diminished to only two to three rows. Inner segments of the vit/vit retina are similar in length to controls. Outer segments separate from the RPE during the first 2 months, they seem to be elongated at 2-3 months, but become severely disrupted past 4 months. Beginning at about 5 months, numerous darkly-staining cells resembling photoreceptor cell nuclei are observed in the area of the inner and outer segments and the subretinal space. Spectrophotometric analysis of rhodopsin indicated similar levels in vit/vit and controls at 6 weeks but a 50% reduction by 22 weeks. At 46 weeks, the level of rhodopsin in the mutant animal was less than 0.1 nmol per retina. The loss of rhodopsin in the vit/vit retinas correlated strongly with the decreasing number of rows of photoreceptor cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / metabolism
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology*
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism*
  • Rod Cell Outer Segment / pathology


  • Rhodopsin