A Comprehensive Study of the Retinal Phenotype of Rpe65-Deficient Dogs.

PubMed ID: 33435495

Author(s): Annear MJ, Mowat FM, Occelli LM, Smith AJ, Curran PG, Bainbridge JW, Ali RR, Petersen-Jones SM. A comprehensive study of the retinal phenotype of Rpe65-deficient dogs. Cells. 2021 Jan 9;10(1). pii: 115. doi: 10.3390/cells10010115. PMID 33435495

Journal: Cells, Volume 10, Issue 1, Jan 2021

The Rpe65-deficient dog has been important for development of translational therapies of Leber congenital amaurosis type 2 (LCA2). The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive report of the natural history of retinal changes in this dog model. Rpe65-deficient dogs from 2 months to 10 years of age were assessed by fundus imaging, electroretinography (ERG) and vision testing (VT). Changes in retinal layer thickness were assessed by optical coherence tomography and on plastic retinal sections. ERG showed marked loss of retinal sensitivity, with amplitudes declining with age. Retinal thinning initially developed in the area centralis, with a slower thinning of the outer retina in other areas starting with the inferior retina. VT showed that dogs of all ages performed well in bright light, while at lower light levels they were blind. Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) inclusions developed and in younger dogs and increased in size with age. The loss of photoreceptors was mirrored by a decline in ERG amplitudes. The slow degeneration meant that sufficient photoreceptors, albeit very desensitized, remained to allow for residual bright light vision in older dogs. This study shows the natural history of the Rpe65-deficient dog model of LCA2.