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October 1963

Fluorescence in the Tapetum of the Cat's Eye: Identification, Assay and Localization of Riboflavin in the Tapetum and a Proposed Mechanism by Which It May Facilitate Vision

Author Affiliations

Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Harvard University Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles St, Boston 14, Mass.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;70(4):531-534. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960050533017

The fluorescent property of the subretinal tapetum of various mammals was first reported by Hosoya in 1929.1 Recent investigations on the composition of this tissue have revealed the presence of zinc cysteinate in high concentrations in the tapeta of carnivores2,3 and the occurrence of crystals of riboflavin in the tapetum of the lemur.4 We recently observed the striking fluorescence of the tapetum lucidum cellulosum of the cat and undertook the identification of the substance responsible for this fluorescence in an attempt to gain some understanding of its role, if any, in vision.

Material and Methods  Spectral grade butanol essentially free from fluorescent impurities was obtained from Fisher Scientific Company. Riboflavin, flavin mononucleotide (FMN), and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) were products of the Sigma Chemical Company.Ascending paper chromatography on strips of Whatman No. 1 chromatography paper was carried out with the following solvent mixtures5: A, butanol:

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