Postnatal retinal vascular development of the puppy

R. W. Flower, D. S. McLeod, G. A. Lutty, B. Goldberg, S. D. Wajer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinal vascular development during the first three postnatal weeks was studied in 63 purebred beagle puppies. Use of a positive enzyme histochemical reaction for adenosine triphosphatase in the nuclei and nucleoli of vascular cells made visualization of the retinal vasculature possible. Animals were killed by decapitation. Thus, artifacts resulting from use of anesthetics or tracer substances were avoided. In general, this study demonstrates important similarities between canine and human retinal vascular development, and this gives further reason to use of the puppy retina as a superior model for studying retrolental fibroplasia pathogenesis. This staining technique demonstrates undifferentiated cells in the avascular retina that appear to be vascular precursors or angioblasts. Primordial vessels form by organization of differentiating angioblasts that exist in peripheral retinal cystic spaces at birth, or by addition of fully differentiated endothelium; they form unlike neovascularization. Muller cell processes appear to provide a structural matrix throughout the avascular puppy retina on which differentiated angioblasts organize into a vascular network. Arteries develop in beds of primordial capillaries lying near the leading edge of the developing vasculature. This precedes vein formation which occurs through a process involving coalescence of embryonic capillaries which themselves were derived from primordial capillaries. Preliminary examination of eight mongrel kitten retinas prepared by this method clearly indicates that the puppy retina is much more completely vascularized at birth than that of the newborn kitten. Moreover, the rate of postnatal retinal vascularization is significantly faster in the kitten. The kitten vasculature does appear to form by the organization of angioblasts as in the puppy, but kitten angioblasts have a different appearance from those in the puppy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-968
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 11 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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