Lacquer crack lesion (LCL), a complication of myopia in human patients, is characterized by loss of retinal pigment epithelium and breaks in Bruch's membrane. This report describes comparable lesions in the "retinopathy, globe enlarged" (rge) chick. Twenty-six birds, (nine rge / rge [affected], 12 rge /+ [carriers] and five +/+ [normal]), were examined ophthalmoscopically from hatching up to 336 days of age. Ophthalmoscopically detected fundus lesions were investigated by light and transmission electron microscopy. Pale, linear fundus lesions were detected in both eyes of seven of the nine rge/rge chicks, from as early as 45 days of age. Histological and ultrastructural examination of four of the affected rge/rge chicks revealed areas of ruptured Bruch's membrane, with focal absence of retinal pigment epithelium. Fibroblasts covered the interface of the abnormal Bruch's membrane and choriocapillaris. There was disorganization of overlying photoreceptor outer and inner segments, and thinning of inner and outer nuclear layers, while the rest of the inner retina appeared unaltered. The lesions present in rge chicks showed histological changes similar to those of LCLs described in human patients with pathological myopia. The formation of LCLs in rge chicks is probably due to stretching of Bruch's membrane secondary to abnormal globe enlargement, resulting in linear rupture of the membrane and associated changes. The rge chick may prove a useful model for human LCL formation. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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