Optokinetic testing is a non-invasive technique, widely used for visual functional evaluation in rodents. The modulatory influence of optokinetic stimulus parameters such as contrast level and grating speed on head-tracking response in normal and retinal degenerate (RD) mice (rd10) and rats (S334ter-line-3) was evaluated using a computer-based testing apparatus. In normal (non-RD) mice and rats, specific stripe width and grating speed was found to evoke maximum optokinetic head-tracking response. In line-3 RD rats, the contrast sensitivity loss was slow and remained close to the baseline (normal control) level until very late in the disease, whereas, in rd10 mice the progression of the contrast sensitivity loss was more rapid. Observed differences between rd10 mice and line-3 RD rats in the progression of contrast sensitivity loss may not be directly related to the degree of photoreceptor loss. In young RD mice, the modulatory influence of stimulus parameters on optokinetic head-tracking response was similar to normal control animals. During later stages, slower grating speed was required to evoke the maximum optokinetic response. Grating speed had lesser apparent influence on the response properties of line-3 RD rats. Discrepancies between the two RD models in the modulatory influence of optokinetic stimulus parameters can be the manifestation of fundamental species differences and/or differences in the degeneration pattern. This study highlights the importance of careful selection of appropriate stimulus parameters for testing optokinetic head-tracking response in RD animals.
"Spatial acuity, which in rodents is low due to spatial summation, can be observed after RPE  or photoreceptor cell damage . Likewise, loss of contrast sensitivity is a manifestation of photoreceptor cell loss in retinal degenerate mice (rd10)  or the Royal College of Surgeons rat . Spatial frequency threshold (spatial acuity) in WT mice after CE did not differ from that of control animals exposed to room air (0.34±0.01 cyc/deg versus 0.37±0.01 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a complex disease involving genetic variants and environmental insults, is among the leading causes of blindness in Western populations. Genetic and histologic evidence implicate the complement system in AMD pathogenesis; and smoking is the major environmental risk factor associated with increased disease risk. Although previous studies have demonstrated that cigarette smoke exposure (CE) causes retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) defects in mice, and smoking leads to complement activation in patients, it is unknown whether complement activation is causative in the development of CE pathology; and if so, which complement pathway is required.
Mice were exposed to cigarette smoke or clean, filtered air for 6 months. The effects of CE were analyzed in wildtype (WT) mice or mice without a functional complement alternative pathway (AP; CFB(-/-) ) using molecular, histological, electrophysiological, and behavioral outcomes.
CE in WT mice exhibited a significant reduction in function of both rods and cones as determined by electroretinography and contrast sensitivity measurements, concomitant with a thinning of the nuclear layers as measured by SD-OCT imaging and histology. Gene expression analyses suggested that alterations in both photoreceptors and RPE/choroid might contribute to the observed loss of function, and visualization of complement C3d deposition implies the RPE/Bruch's membrane (BrM) complex as the target of AP activity. RPE/BrM alterations include an increase in mitochondrial size concomitant with an apical shift in mitochondrial distribution within the RPE and a thickening of BrM. CFB(-/-) mice were protected from developing these CE-mediated alterations.
Taken together, these findings provide clear evidence that ocular pathology generated in CE mice is dependent on complement activation and requires the AP. Identifying animal models with RPE/BrM damage and verifying which aspects of pathology are dependent upon complement activation is essential for developing novel complement-based treatment approaches for the treatment of AMD.
PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e67894. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0067894 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Notably, retinal thickening (consistent with DME) has been detected in a small number of available models such as monkeys. Vision loss or impairment is also now being studied in mice and rats using the optokinetic response (Thomas et al., 2010); investigating the cause of a diabetes-induced reduction in visual function might provide new insight into the causes of vision loss in diabetic humans. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes and one of the major causes of blindness worldwide. The pathogenesis of DR has been investigated using several animal models of diabetes. These models have been generated by pharmacological induction, feeding a galactose diet, and spontaneously by selective inbreeding or genetic modification. Among the available animal models, rodents have been studied most extensively owing to their short generation time and the inherited hyperglycemia and/or obesity that affect certain strains. In particular, mice have proven useful for studying DR and evaluating novel therapies because of their amenability to genetic manipulation. Mouse models suitable for replicating the early, non-proliferative stages of the retinopathy have been characterized, but no animal model has yet been found to demonstrate all of the vascular and neural complications that are associated with the advanced, proliferative stages of DR that occur in humans. In this review, we summarize commonly used animal models of DR, and briefly outline the in vivo imaging techniques used for characterization of DR in these models. Through highlighting the ocular pathological findings, clinical implications, advantages and disadvantages of these models, we provide essential information for planning experimental studies of DR that will lead to new strategies for its prevention and treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The optomotor reflex of DBA/2J (D2), DBA/2J-Gpnmb+ (D2-Gpnmb+), and C57BL/6J (B6) mouse strains was assayed, and the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) firing patterns, direction selectivity, vestibulomotor function and central vision was compared between the D2 and B6 mouse lines.
Intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemical analysis were used to assess the time course of glaucomatous changes in D2 retinas. Behavioral analyses of optomotor head-turning reflex, visible platform Morris water maze and Rotarod measurements were conducted to test vision and vestibulomotor function. Electroretinogram (ERG) measurements were used to assay outer retinal function. The multielectrode array (MEA) technique was used to characterize RGC spiking and direction selectivity in D2 and B6 retinas.
Progressive increase in IOP and loss of Brn3a signals in D2 animals were consistent with glaucoma progression starting after 6 months of age. D2 mice showed no response to visual stimulation that evoked robust optomotor responses in B6 mice at any age after eye opening. Spatial frequency threshold was also not measurable in the D2-Gpnmb+ strain control. ERG a- and b-waves, central vision, vestibulomotor function, the spiking properties of ON, OFF, ON-OFF, and direction-selective RGCs were normal in young D2 mice.
The D2 strain is characterized by a lack of optomotor reflex before IOP elevation and RGC degeneration are observed. This behavioral deficit is D2 strain-specific, but is independent of retinal function and glaucoma. Caution is advised when using the optomotor reflex to follow glaucoma progression in D2 mice.
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