Permeability of the Blood-Retinal and Blood-Aqueous Barriers in Galactose-Fed Rats

Laure E. Caspers-Velu, Peter F. Kador, Kishena C. Wadhwani, Stanley I. Rapoport

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11 Scopus citations


Blood-retinal barrier (BRB) and blood-aqueous barrier (BAB) permeability were assessed by various methods to clarify conflicting reports on whether blood-retinal barrier permeability changes occur in diabetic and galactose-fed rats and to assess the potential role of aldose reductase in this process. Different molecular weight probes were utilized in rats fed for 7-11 months either a normal diet or a diet containing 50% galactose with / without the aldose reductase inhibitor AI1576 or Ponalrestat. BRB and BAB were assessed through radiolabelled sucrose permeability studies in eyes where the anterior segment was frozen during dissection compared to eyes where the anterior segments were not frozen and by quantitative autoradiography. In addition, histological studies using Evans Blue dye, microperoxidase and horseradish peroxidase were conducted. In untreated galactose-fed rats a 4-fold increase in the mean permeability surface area product (PA) to sucrose at the BRB was observed when the aqueous humor was not frozen during retinal dissection. However, no increase in the mean PA to sucrose was observed when the aqueous humor of similar eyes was frozen during dissection. Similarly, no retinal vessel permeability increase was observed by either quantitative autoradiography of [3H]-sucrose after 15 minutes of circulation or histological studies with microperoxidase, horseradish peroxidase or Evans Blue dye. Examination of the BAB revealed an increase in the permeability of iris vessels but not the ciliary body in galactose-fed rats which was reduced by treatment with the aldose reductase inhibitor AI1576. These data indicate that while BRB permeability is not increased in galactose-fed rats, BRB permeability measurements with isotopes are subject to possible contamination from the aqueous humor in untreated galactose-fed rats, which can result in false observations of increased BRB permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-487
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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