Chronic lead administration in neonatal rats: Electron microscopy of the retina

Rebecca M. Santos-Anderson, Mark Tso, James J. Valdes, Zoltan Annau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The morphologic effects on the retina resulting from chronic lead exposure were assessed in neonatal rats. Newborn rats nursed from dams were given a low (0.115%) or a high (4.5%) concentration of lead in their diet. At day 21 the pups were weaned to the mother’s diet. The retinas of the pups were studied by electron microscopy at various ages up to day 60. High and low lead concentrations produced necrosis of photoreceptor cells and cells of the inner nuclear layer. The high lead concentration, in addition, was associated with swelling of endothelial cells of the retinal vessels and narrowing of the lumen. Increased permeability of the retinal vessels and pigment epithelium to horseradish peroxidase was also observed under the high-dose condition. The authors conclude that lead can produce direct neuronal damage and, at high doses, produces retinal vascular lesions and alteration of the blood-retinal barrier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Horseradish peroxidase
  • Lead
  • Neonatal
  • Rat
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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