To examine the histologic, histochemical, and ultrastructural changes in Bruch membrane in mice on a high-fat diet with and without laser photochemical injury.
Five groups of C57BL/6 mice were studied. Group 1 included 2-month-old mice on a normal diet; group 2 included 8-month-old mice on a normal diet; group 3 included 8-month-old mice on a high-fat diet; groups 4 and 5 included 8-month-old mice on a normal diet or high-fat diet, respectively, that underwent laser application of one eye with argon blue laser (488 nm). The mice were killed and plasma lipid levels were measured. The eyes were examined by standard electron microscopy, filipin histochemistry for unesterified cholesterol (UC) and esterified cholesterol (EC), and the osmium–tannic acid–phenylenediamine method for preserving extracellular lipid particles.
The plasma cholesterol level was significantly higher in the mice on the high-fat diet than the controls (P<.001). Bruch membrane was thicker in group 2 than group 1 (P= .04) and group 3 had a thicker Bruch membrane than group 2 (P = .003). All eyes in group 3 exhibited accumulation of electron-lucent debris. There was no histochemical and ultrastructural evidence that this material represented accumulated UC or EC. Seven of 9 laser-injured eyes in group 5 accumulated basal laminar deposit (BlamD)–like material in Bruch membrane (P = .02).
Electron-lucent debris accumulates in murine Bruch membrane, and the amount correlates with age and high-fat diet. This debris has some similarities with basal linear deposits, although the debris does not form a discrete layer external to the basement membrane of the retinal pigment epithelium as occurs in basal linear deposits. These deposits do not appear to be UC or EC. Laser photochemical injury of the retinal pigment epithelium may result in the appearance of BlamD-like deposits in eyes with electron-lucent debris. The BlamD-like deposits in this model are similar to the basal laminar deposits that occur in age-related macular degeneration.
This is an animal model of ultrastructural BlamD-like material in Bruch membrane that is very similar to the deposits that occur in age-related macular degeneration.