Retinal degeneration from oxidative damage

Celia Cingolani, Brian Rogers, Lili Lu, Shu Kachi, Ji Kui Shen, Peter A. Campochiaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Paraquat, a herbicide that generates reactive oxygen species, has been used to probe the oxidative defense systems of lung. In this study, we investigated the effects of paraquat in the retina. There was no significant decline in electroretinogram (ERG) a- or b-wave amplitudes after intravitreous injection of 1 μl of 0.5 mM paraquat in C57BL/6 mice, but loss of ERG function occurred after injection of 0.75 or 1 mM paraquat. Histology in paraquat-injected eyes showed condensation of chromatin and thinning of the inner and outer nuclear layers indicating cell death, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated duTP-biotinide end labeling demonstrated that one mechanism of cell death was apoptosis. Fluorescence in the retina and retinal pigmented epithelium after intraocular injection of paraquat followed by perfusion with hydroethidine indicated high levels of superoxide radicals, and oxidative damage was demonstrated by staining for acrolein and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for carbonyl adducts. Paraquat-induced damage to the outer nuclear layer was greater in BALB/c mice than in C57BL/6 mice, suggesting strain differences in the oxidative defense system of photoreceptors and/or other modifier genes. Intravitreous injection of paraquat provides a new model of oxidative damage-induced retinal degeneration that is likely to be useful for testing new antioxidant treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-669
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Free radicals
  • Paraquat
  • Photoreceptors
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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