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Keywords:

  • comparative anatomy;
  • linear optic nerve;
  • Rodentia

Abstract

There is little information regarding ocular anatomy and histology in many of the rodent species. Histological analyses for morphologic features were performed in 31 globes from 18 rodent species submitted to and archived at the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin. The following measurements were taken: thickness of the cornea, corneal epithelium, corneal stroma, Descemet's membrane, and retina. H&E sections were evaluated for the following anatomical features: presence of pigmented epithelial cells in the peripheral cornea, presence and location of Schlemm's canal, presence of iridal sphincter and dilator and ciliary body muscles, presence of pars plicata and plana, presence of retinal vessels, presence of lamina cribrosa, and presence of tapetum lucidum. The springhaas was the only rodent in our collection that presented a well-developed tapetum lucidum fibrosum. The presence of retinal vessels was variable: vessels were observed in all of the members of the mouse-related clade, except the springhaas and the beaver, in all of the squirrel-related clade members, and in none of the Ctenohystrica. In the flying squirrels, blood vessels extended to the outer limiting membrane in the photoreceptor layer. Beavers, chinchillas, capybara, and guinea pigs lacked vessels within the retina; however, they had vessels within the optic nerve head. Ground squirrels have an optic nerve head, which is linear in the horizontal plane and an asymmetric retina. The tree-dwelling squirrels have a rounded but still elongated optic nerve, and the flying squirrel has a round optic nerve head like all the other rodents.