Long-term evaluation of retinal morphology and function in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy.

Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi // Publications // Sheibani Lab // Jan 01 2020

PubMed ID: 32256029

Author(s): Mezu-Ndubuisi OJ, Macke EL, Kalavacherla R, Nwaba AA, Suscha A, Zaitoun IS, Ikeda A, Sheibani N. Long-term evaluation of retinal morphology and function in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy. Mol Vis. 2020 Apr 1;26:257-276. eCollection 2020. PMID 32256029

Journal: Molecular Vision, Volume 26, 2020

Purpose Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition of aberrant retinal vascularization in premature infants in response to high levels of oxygen used for critical care that can potentially cause blindness. Although therapies to mitigate vascular abnormalities are being evaluated, functional deficits often remain in patients with treated or regressed ROP. This study investigated long-term outcomes of hyperoxia on retinal morphology and function using a mouse model of oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy (OIR).

Methods Twenty-two mice were exposed to 77% oxygen to induce OIR, while 23 age-matched control mice were raised in room air (RA). In vivo fluorescein angiography (FA), spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and focal electroretinography (fERG) were performed at P19, P24, P32, and P47, followed by histological assessments of retinal morphology, gliosis, microglia activation, and apoptosis.

Results FA in OIR mice showed capillary attrition despite peripheral revascularization. Inner retina thinning was detected with SD-OCT; outer and inner retinal dysfunction were demonstrated with fERG. Histology of the OIR mice exhibited a thin, disorganized structure. Immunohistochemistry showed increased gliosis, microglial activation, and apoptosis with increasing age from P19 to P47. The synapses between rod photoreceptor cells and rod bipolar cells were ectopically localized in the OIR mice.

Conclusions We demonstrated histological evidence of persistent ectopic synapses, prolonged cellular apoptosis, and gliosis in the OIR retina that corresponded with long-term in vivo evidence of capillary attrition, inner retinal thinning, and dysfunction despite full peripheral revascularization. Further studies on the mechanisms underlying these persistent phenotypes could enhance our understanding of ROP pathogenesis and lead to new therapeutic targets to preserve visual function in premature infants.

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