Author(s): Matsubara JA, Lam DY, Kalil RE, Gabelt BT, Nork TM, Hornan D, Kaufman PL. The effects of panretinal photocoagulation on the primary visual cortex of the adult monkey. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2001;99:33-42; discussion 42-3. PMID 11797318
Journal: Transactions Of The American Ophthalmological Society, Volume 99, 2001
PURPOSE To determine the effects of panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) on the levels of cytochrome oxidase (CO), Zif268, synaptophysin, and growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) in the primary visual cortex of adult monkeys.
METHODS Ten adult primates underwent unilateral argon laser PRP with instrument settings at 300 to 500 microns spot diameter, 200 to 500 mW power intensity, and 0.1 to 0.2 second duration, causing moderate to severe burns in the peripheral retina. At 20 hours, 12 days, 6 months, and 13 months after laser treatment, the visual cortex was assessed histologically for CO and immunohistochemically for Zif268, synaptophysin, and GAP-43.
RESULTS PRP resulted in transneuronal changes in the relative distributions of CO, Zif268, synaptophysin, and GAP-43 in the primary visual cortex. CO activity was relatively decreased in the lasered eye’s ocular dominance columns at 12 days post-PRP, with recovery by 13 months post-PRP. The level of Zif268 was dramatically decreased in the lasered eye’s ocular dominance columns at 20 hours post-PRP, with gradual recovery by 13 months post-PRP. Levels of synaptophysin and GAP-43 immunoreactivity were increased in both the lasered and the nonlasered eyes’ ocular dominance columns at 6 months post-PRP.
CONCLUSION PRP treatment results in metabolic activity changes in the visual cortex of the adult monkey. These changes are followed chronologically by spatial redistribution of synaptophysin and GAP-43, neurochemicals known to play a role in cortical plasticity. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that PRP as used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy results in a redistribution of neurochemicals in the adult monkey visual cortex. Such changes may help explain the anomalous visual functional loss often reported by patients after PRP.