The basement membrane of the RPF in young eyes is thin and uniform in thickness. With increasing age there is a significant alteration of the RPE cells and the basement membrane. In the aged eye most of the RPE cells show deep infoldings of the basal cell membranes. In the young eye the basement membrane of the RPE appears as an ordinary basement membrane. With increasing age this basement membrane becomes thicker and forms a reticular pattern. Within the reticular meshwork there is a granular material consisting of many deeply osmiophilic coarse and fine granules, and groups of membrane-bound vesicles. The apical cell membrane that faces the pigmented epithelium is fairly straight. The pigmented epithelial cells face each other at their apical surface, joined by the zonula adherens and/or occludens. Inter-digitations along the lateral cell membrane are found mainly in the basal or inner third of the cells.
The lateral cell membranes exhibit junctions that are mostly desmosomal and are located along the apical third of the cells. Both MBP and proteo-glycans show substantial age-related changes (Cavallotti et al., 2005).
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