PURPOSE. Low-dose D-galactose treatment in mice induces accelerated aging due to advanced glycation endproduct (AGEs) formation. The purpose of this study was to identify ultrastructural aging in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-Bruch's membrane-choriocapillaris. METHODS. Five-month-old C57B16 mice were injected daily with D-galactose or control buffer for 8 weeks. Eighteen-month-old mice were also treated with control buffer for 8 weeks. Eyes were prepared for electron microscopy and AGE-specific fluorescence at ex = 370 nm/em = 440 nm and ex = 330 nm/ex = 390 nm. RESULTS. D-Galactose treatment induced AGE-specific fluorescence in lens and RPE/choroid compared to buffer-treated controls. In D-galactose-treated animals, the RPE had dilated and fewer basolateral infoldings. Bruch's membrane had alterations that included significant thickening, sub-RPE and prominent outer collagenous layer deposits, and choriocapillaris basement membrane duplication/splitting and thickening. The choriocapillaris endothelium displayed fenestration loss. CONCLUSIONS. Ultrastructural aging to the RPE-Bruch's membrane-choriocapillaris developed in mice treated with low-dose D-galactose. These changes could contribute to age-related changes that promote early age-related disease.
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