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May 1997

Retinal Pigment Epithelium Abnormalities in Mice With Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Gene Disruption

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Marcus, Brooks, and Smith and Messrs McCormick and Thompson) and Cell Biology and Anatomy (Dr Smith), Medical College of Georgia, Augusta; the Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Rustgi); the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, East Tennessee State University College of Medicine, Johnson City (Dr Defoe); and the Department of Molecular Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (Drs Edelmann and Kucherlapati).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(5):645-650. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150647013

Objective:  To examine eyes from mice with targeted adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene disruption to determine if retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) abnormalities replicate the human counterpart.

Methods:  Thirty-two eyes from 16 mice heterozygous for APC gene disruption (chain-termination mutation in codon 1638 of exon 15) and 12 control eyes were examined by light microscopy.

Results:  Fifteen of 32 eyes from 12 of 16 APC-disrupted mice demonstrated abnormalities of the RPE and retina. The RPE abnormalities included RPE coloboma, unifocal and multifocal RPE hypertrophy, RPE hyperplasia, and RPE duplication with invasion in the areas of outer and inner segments. Retinal abnormalities included outer nuclear layer duplication and outer nuclear layer atrophy. There were no RPE and retinal abnormalities seen in the control eyes.

Conclusions:  This study is consistent with the hypothesis that the APC gene is critical in the regulation of RPE proliferation and development. These findings also demonstrate that mutation of the APC gene in codon 1638, a location beyond the previously described critical region for human RPE abnormalities, leads to perturbation in the mouse RPE and retina. Further study of this murine model and the APC/RPE relationship may provide insight into regulatory mechanisms for RPE proliferation.

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