Experimental eye research

Toward in vivo two-photon analysis of mouse aqueous outflow structure and function.

PMID 27179411


The promise of revolutionary insights into intraocular pressure (IOP) and aqueous humor outflow homeostasis, IOP pathogenesis, and novel therapy offered by engineered mouse models has been hindered by a lack of appropriate tools for studying the aqueous drainage tissues in their original 3-dimensional (3D) environment. Advances in 2-photon excitation fluorescence imaging (TPEF) combined with availability of modalities such as transgenic reporter mice and intravital dyes have placed us on the cusp of unlocking the potential of the mouse model for unearthing insights into aqueous drainage structure and function. Multimodality 2-photon imaging permits high-resolution visualization not only of tissue structural organization but also cells and cellular function. It is possible to dig deeper into understanding the cellular basis of aqueous outflow regulation as the technique integrates analysis of tissue structure, cell biology and physiology in a way that could also lead to fresh insights into human glaucoma. We outline recent novel applications of two-photon imaging to analyze the mouse conventional drainage system in vivo or in whole tissues: (1) collagen second harmonic generation (SHG) identifies the locations of episcleral vessels, intrascleral plexuses, collector channels, and Schlemm's canal in the distal aqueous drainage tract; (2) the prospero homeobox protein 1-green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter helps locate the inner wall of Schlemm's canal; (3) Calcein AM, siGLO™, the fluorescent reporters m-Tomato and GFP, and coherent anti-Stokes scattering (CARS), are adjuncts to TPEF to identify live cells by their membrane or cytosolic locations; (4) autofluorescence and sulforhodamine-B to identify elastic fibers in the living eye. These tools greatly expand our options for analyzing physiological and pathological processes in the aqueous drainage tissues of live mice as a model of the analogous human system.