Measurement of diurnal variation in rod outer segment length in vivo in mice with the OCT optoretinogram

Pengfei Zhang, Bradley Shibata, Gabriel Peinado, Robert J. Zawadzki, Paul FitzGerald, Edward N. Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To investigate diurnal variation in the length of mouse rod outer segments in vivo. METHODS. The lengths of rod inner and outer segments (RIS, ROS) of dark-adapted albino mice maintained on a 12-hour dark:12-hour light cycle with light onset 7 AM were measured at prescribed times (6:30 AM, 11 AM, 3:30 PM) during the diurnal cycle with optical coherence tomography (OCT), taking advantage of increased visibility, after a brief bleaching exposure, of the bands corresponding to RIS/ROS boundaries and ROS tips (ROST). RESULTS. Deconvolution of OCT depth profiles resolved two backscatter bands located 7.4 ± 0.1 and 10.8 ± 0.2 μm (mean ± SEM) proximal to Bruch’s membrane (BrM). These bands were identified with histology as arising from the apical surface of RPE and ROST, respectively. The average length of dark-adapted ROS at 6:30 AM was 17.7 ± 0.8 μm. By 11 AM, the average ROS length had decreased by 10% to 15.9 ± 0.7 μm. After 11 AM, the ROS length increased steadily at an average rate of 0.12 μm/h, returning to baseline length by 23.5 hours in the cycle. CONCLUSIONS. The diurnal variation in ROS length measured in these experiments is consistent with prior histological investigations showing that rodent rod discs are phagocytosed by the RPE maximally over several hours around the time of normal light onset. The rate of recovery of ROS to baseline length before normal light onset is consistent with the hypothesis that disc membrane synthesis is fairly constant over the diurnal cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • In vivo imaging
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Opto-physiology
  • Photoreceptor
  • Rods outer segments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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