Lanthanum and freeze-fracture studies of retinal pigment epithelial cell junctions in the streptozotocin diabetic rat

Ruth B Caldwell, Susan M. Slapnick, Barbara J. Mclaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The blood-retinal barrier breaks down early in diabetes and previous morphological studies suggest that the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is the site of this defect. In the present study the electron microscope lanthanum nitrate tracer technique has been used to study RPE cell permeability in the streptozotocin diabetic rat retina. The freeze-fracture technique has been used to study RPE cell tight junction structure as permeability increases. In the lanthanum experiments, RPE cell permeability is normal in control rats and in diabetic rats 3 weeks after the injections. After 8 or 16 weeks of diabetes, however, the RPE cell layer no longer forms a barrier to the tracer and electron dense material is present in the subretinal space, in the apical and basal regions of the RPE cell junctions and intracellularly within the RPE. Freeze-fracture studies of tight junctions during this period show (1) an increase in the complexity of the tight junction network due to an increase in anastomoses between the tight junctions; (2) a change in membrane fracturing properties such that the tight junctional intra-merabrane particles adhering to the E-face grooves are more numerous than in the control junctions; (3) no change in the number or size of the tight and gap junctional elements. These results suggest that the blood-retinal barrier breakdown in the diabetic RPE is due to alteration of plasma membrane permeability rather than to a loss of tight junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Lanthanum
Retinal Pigments
Intercellular Junctions
Retinal Pigment Epithelium
Streptozocin
Epithelial Cells
Tight Junctions
Permeability
Blood-Retinal Barrier
Electrons
Retinal Perforations
Retina
Cell Membrane
Injections
Membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Lanthanum and freeze-fracture studies of retinal pigment epithelial cell junctions in the streptozotocin diabetic rat. / Caldwell, Ruth B; Slapnick, Susan M.; Mclaughlin, Barbara J.

In: Current Eye Research, Vol. 4, No. 3, 01.01.1985, p. 215-227.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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