In vivo optical coherence tomography of light-driven melanosome translocation in retinal pigment epithelium

Academic Article


  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) may revolutionize fundamental investigation and clinical management of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases. However, quantitative OCT interpretation is hampered due to uncertain sub-cellular correlates of reflectivity in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptor. The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to test OCT correlates in the RPE, and 2) to demonstrate the feasibility of longitudinal OCT monitoring of sub-cellular RPE dynamics. A high resolution OCT was constructed to achieve dynamic imaging of frog eyes, in which light-driven translocation of RPE melanosomes occurred within the RPE cell body and apical processes. Comparative histological examination of dark- and light-adapted eyes indicated that the RPE melanin granule, i.e., melanosome, was a primary OCT correlate. In vivo OCT imaging of RPE melanosomes opens the opportunity for quantitative assessment of RPE abnormalities associated with disease, and enables longitudinal investigation of RPE kinetics correlated with visual function.
  • Author List

  • Zhang QX; Lu RW; Messinger JD; Curcio CA; Guarcello V; Yao XC