PloS one

A Quantitative and Standardized Method for the Evaluation of Choroidal Neovascularization Using MICRON III Fluorescein Angiograms in Rats.

PMID 26024231


In-vivo imaging of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) has been increasingly recognized as a valuable tool in the investigation of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in both clinical and basic research applications. Arguably the most widely utilised model replicating AMD is laser generated CNV by rupture of Bruch's membrane in rodents. Heretofore CNV evaluation via in-vivo imaging techniques has been hamstrung by a lack of appropriate rodent fundus camera and a non-standardised analysis method. The aim of this study was to establish a simple, quantifiable method of fluorescein fundus angiogram (FFA) image analysis for CNV lesions. Laser was applied to 32 Brown Norway Rats; FFA images were taken using a rodent specific fundus camera (Micron III, Phoenix Laboratories) over 3 weeks and compared to conventional ex-vivo CNV assessment. FFA images acquired with fluorescein administered by intraperitoneal injection and intravenous injection were compared and shown to greatly influence lesion properties. Utilising commonly used software packages, FFA images were assessed for CNV and chorioretinal burns lesion area by manually outlining the maximum border of each lesion and normalising against the optic nerve head. Net fluorescence above background and derived value of area corrected lesion intensity were calculated. CNV lesions of rats treated with anti-VEGF antibody were significantly smaller in normalised lesion area (p < 0.001) and fluorescent intensity (p < 0.001) than the PBS treated control two weeks post laser. The calculated area corrected lesion intensity was significantly smaller (p < 0.001) in anti-VEGF treated animals at 2 and 3 weeks post laser. The results obtained using FFA correlated with, and were confirmed by conventional lesion area measurements from isolectin stained choroidal flatmounts, where lesions of anti-VEGF treated rats were significantly smaller at 2 weeks (p = 0.049) and 3 weeks (p < 0.001) post laser. The presented method of in-vivo FFA quantification of CNV, including acquisition variable corrections, using the Micron III system and common use software establishes a reliable method for detecting and quantifying CNV enabling longitudinal studies and represents an important alternative to conventional CNV quantification methods.