Apoptosis in human retinal degenerations

Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1996;94:411-30; discussion 430-1.


Purpose: This paper examined the role of apoptosis in human retinal degenerations including pathologic myopia, age-related macular degeneration, serous retinal detachment, retinal lattice, and paving stone degenerations.

Method: Thirty-seven enucleated human eyes with 1 of the above-mentioned retinal degenerations were studied by histopathology and by TdT-mediated biotin-dUTP nicked-end labelling (TUNEL) technique.

Results: Tunnel labelling characteristic DNA fragmentation of apoptosis was observed in photoreceptor cells in 2 of the 4 eyes with pathologic myopia and in 4 of 16 eyes with age-related macular degeneration, 2 of which were exudative and 2 of which were atrophic. However, only a few scattered photoreceptor cells were labelled in 4 of 8 eyes with serous retinal detachment secondary to malignant melanoma of the choroid. Moreover, none of the photoreceptors cells in the 4 eyes with retinal lattice degeneration and 6 eyes with retinal paving stone degeneration were labelled.

Conclusions: Apoptosis is 1 of the important pathways of photoreceptor cell degeneration in pathologic myopia and age-related macular degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Death
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase
  • Deoxyuracil Nucleotides
  • Humans
  • Myopia / complications
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / complications
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology*
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis


  • Deoxyuracil Nucleotides
  • deoxyuridine triphosphate
  • DNA
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase