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      Mitochondria of Retinal Müller (Glial) Cells: The Effects of Aging and of Application of Free Radical Scavengers


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          Age-related changes of mitochondria were studied in Müller (retinal glial) cells from guinea pigs fed with or without externally applied Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761, an established radical scavenger. When Müller cell mitochondria from aged animals were compared with those from young adults, they displayed (1) a diminished number of well-defined cristae at the ultrastructural level, (2) a reduced membrane potential, as revealed by fluorimetry using the voltage-sensitive dye tetramethyl rhodamine methylester, and (3) a slightly reduced index of vitality assayed by tetrazolium salt colorimetry. Müller cell mitochondria were also studied in aged guinea pigs which had been fed daily by EGb 761 during the last 2 months before they were sacrificed. Such mitochondria displayed (1) many well-defined cristae at the ultrastructural level, and, compared with mitochondria from untreated aged animals, (2) a significantly enhanced membrane potential and (3) a significantly enhanced index of vitality. No age- or drug-related changes were observed in the mitochondrial content of GABA transaminase, as revealed by immunocytochemistry/densitometry. These results suggest that many but not all structural and functional parameters of aging Müller cell mitochondria are impaired by accumulating oxidative damage, and that externally applied radical scavengers may protect the organelles from the damaging actions of free radicals. As it has been shown earlier that EGb 761 treatment enhances the intrinsic glutathione content of aged guinea pig Müller cells, the protective radical-scavenging effect of the drug may be mediated both directly and indirectly.

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          A Ginkgo Biloba Extract (EGb 761) Prevents Mitochondrial Aging by Protecting Against Oxidative Stress

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            An integrated theory of aging as the result of mitochondrial-DNA mutation in differentiated cells

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              The influences of age, retinal topography, and gender on retinal degeneration in the Fischer 344 rat.

              The Fischer 344 (F344) rat is presently the animal of choice for age-related research. The existence of an age-related retinal degeneration was reported previously in the males of this strain, but a gender comparison has not been performed. In this study, histological and morphometric measurements of the retina related to age, retinal topography, and gender were made on 3- to 24-month-old animals. The thicknesses of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) and the photoreceptor layer (PRL) were measured from sagittal sections at six loci. Retinas of both sexes showed steady decline with age in the thicknesses of the ONL and PRL at all locations. An important finding was the presence, after 12 months of age, of a drastically accelerated rate of peripheral retinal degeneration seen only in male subjects. Females showed a less dramatic rate of peripheral degeneration which did not begin until after 18 months of age. In addition, two other forms of retinal degeneration were found--cystoid degeneration was found earlier and more frequently in the male, while a paving-stone type of degeneration was found in both sexes. These two types of lesions were preferentially, but not exclusively found in the peripheral retina. In conclusion, the F344 rat offers a convenient model to study a pattern of retinal degeneration affected by the combination of gender, regional and age-related factors.

                Author and article information

                Ophthalmic Res
                Ophthalmic Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 2000
                07 September 2000
                : 32
                : 5
                : 229-236
                Paul Flechsig Institute for Brain Research, University of Leipzig, Germany
                55618 Ophthalmic Res 2000;32:229–236
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, References: 47, Pages: 8
                Original Paper

                Vision sciences,Ophthalmology & Optometry,Pathology
                Retina,Aging,Oxidation,Free radical scavengers,Glia
                Vision sciences, Ophthalmology & Optometry, Pathology
                Retina, Aging, Oxidation, Free radical scavengers, Glia


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