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PloS one

Investigation of retinal morphology alterations using spectral domain optical coherence tomography in a mouse model of retinal branch and central retinal vein occlusion.


PMID 25775456

Abstract

Retinal vein occlusion is a leading cause of visual impairment. Experimental models of this condition based on laser photocoagulation of retinal veins have been described and extensively exploited in mammals and larger rodents such as the rat. However, few reports exist on the use of this paradigm in the mouse. The objective of this study was to investigate a model of branch and central retinal vein occlusion in the mouse and characterize in vivo longitudinal retinal morphology alterations using spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Retinal veins were experimentally occluded using laser photocoagulation after intravenous application of Rose Bengal, a photo-activator dye enhancing thrombus formation. Depending on the number of veins occluded, variable amounts of capillary dropout were seen on fluorescein angiography. Vascular endothelial growth factor levels were markedly elevated early and peaked at day one. Retinal thickness measurements with spectral domain optical coherence tomography showed significant swelling (p<0.001) compared to baseline, followed by gradual thinning plateauing two weeks after the experimental intervention (p<0.001). Histological findings at day seven correlated with spectral domain optical coherence tomography imaging. The inner layers were predominantly affected by degeneration with the outer nuclear layer and the photoreceptor outer segments largely preserved. The application of this retinal vein occlusion model in the mouse carries several advantages over its use in other larger species, such as access to a vast range of genetically modified animals. Retinal changes after experimental retinal vein occlusion in this mouse model can be non-invasively quantified by spectral domain optical coherence tomography, and may be used to monitor effects of potential therapeutic interventions.