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Maria Thereza Perez

Senior Lecturer

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DNA fragmentation characteristic of apoptosis and cell loss induced by kainic acid in rabbit retinas


  • M T Perez
  • K Arnér
  • Anders P Håkansson

Summary, in English

We have examined whether in vivo exposure to the glutamate analogue, kainic acid, induces cell loss through apoptosis and/or through necrosis. The vulnerability of rabbit retinal cells was evaluated by routine histopathology. The DNA fragmentation was examined using an in situ method (TUNEL: TdT-mediated biotin-dUTP nick-end labelling) and agarose gel electrophoresis of extracted retinal DNA. Retinas were examined at 30 min, and 4, 16, 24 and 36 h, and 2-5 days following the intraocular administration of 140 nmol kainic acid. Although pyknotic cells could be seen already at 30 min post-injection, TUNEL-labelled nuclei were first observed 4 h after the injection. A relatively large number of pyknotic cells and of TUNEL-labelled nuclei were still seen at 5 days post-injection. Pyknotic cells were seen throughout the inner nuclear layer (mostly in the proximal half of the layer) and in the ganglion cell layer. The TUNEL-labelled nuclei were almost only seen in the proximal inner nuclear layer. Analysis of DNA by electrophoresis revealed the presence of large molecular weight fragments 4 h after the injection, and of oligonucleosome-size fragments between 16 h and 2 days after the injection. The present study thus presents evidence that, in our model, the retinal cell loss induced by kainic acid is preceded, probably in most cells, by a fragmentation of DNA characteristic of apoptotic cell death. The process of cell loss following kainic acid administration was found to be relatively slow, further suggesting that a programmed type of cell death, which eventually induces apoptosis, is involved. No indication that cells were lost also through necrosis was obtained.


  • Ophthalmology, Lund
  • Experimental Infection Medicine, Malmö
  • Division of Microbiology, Immunology and Glycobiology - MIG

Publishing year







Neurochemistry International





Document type

Journal article




  • Ophthalmology


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Female
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Kainic Acid
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Retina



Research group

  • Experimental Infection Medicine, Malmö


  • ISSN: 0197-0186