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March 1973

X-rays and the Retina of the Primate Fetus

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Radiology, Radiological Research Laboratory, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. Dr. Rugh is now with the Bureau of Radiological Health, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Rockville, Md.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1973;89(3):221-227. doi:10.1001/archopht.1973.01000040223013

Thirty pregnant monkeys were x-rayed (200 to 400 roentgens) with radiations coned to the fetus between gestational ages of 60 to 145 days to study the retinal radiosensitivity, damage, and possible repair over a 23-month period. Irradiation even at 60 days resulted in extensive necrosis of retinal neuroblasts followed by reorganization with rosette formation. The most posterior region of the developing retina is the first to differentiate from neurectoderm to neurons, through the highly radiosensitive neuroblast stage. Differentiation proceeds anteriorly toward the ora serrata, with a parallel wave of radiosensitivity. No fetal retina can be completely damaged by a single x-irradiation. Attempts to reorganize show deficits resulting in bizarre formations of the retina that persist after birth. Clinicians are cautioned that the mammalian retina exhibits radiosensitive areas during the major part of gestation.

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