Light-induced retinal degeneration (LIRD) models are used to recapitulate the pathologies of retinal diseases that affect photoreceptors. Current LIRD models use a dark-adaptation period of 7-14 days followed by high-intensity light exposure. The purpose of this study was to determine whether photoreceptor damage and death would occur in pigmented zebrafish using a short period of dark-adaptation. Zebrafish were dark-adapted for 24 h and then exposed to constant high-intensity light for 48 h. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on vertical retinal sections to assess damage and apoptosis. Photoreceptors exhibited structural damage, apoptosis, and cell loss after 24 and 48 h of light exposure as previously reported in studies using 7-14 day dark-adaption. Also, photoreceptors lost following light damage were regenerated after 28 days. These results suggest that a short period of dark-adaptation is sufficient for a LIRD model in pigmented zebrafish.
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