Modulatory influence of stimulus parameters on optokinetic head-tracking response.
ABSTRACT 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.
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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.Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 07/2011; 52(9):6766-73. DOI:10.1167/iovs.10-7147
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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.Disease Models and Mechanisms 07/2012; 5(4):444-56. DOI:10.1242/dmm.009597
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ABSTRACT: Retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) affect millions of people. Replacing lost cells with new cells that connect with the still functional part of the host retina might repair a degenerating retina and restore eyesight to an unknown extent. A unique model, subretinal transplantation of freshly dissected sheets of fetal-derived retinal progenitor cells, combined with its retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), has demonstrated successful results in both animals and humans. Most other approaches are restricted to rescue endogenous retinal cells of the recipient in earlier disease stages by a 'nursing' role of the implanted cells and are not aimed at neural retinal cell replacement. Sheet transplants restore lost visual responses in several retinal degeneration models in the superior colliculus (SC) corresponding to the location of the transplant in the retina. They do not simply preserve visual performance - they increase visual responsiveness to light. Restoration of visual responses in the SC can be directly traced to neural cells in the transplant, demonstrating that synaptic connections between transplant and host contribute to the visual improvement. Transplant processes invade the inner plexiform layer of the host retina and form synapses with presumable host cells. In a Phase II trial of RP and ARMD patients, transplants of retina together with its RPE improved visual acuity. In summary, retinal progenitor sheet transplantation provides an excellent model to answer questions about how to repair and restore function of a degenerating retina. Supply of fetal donor tissue will always be limited but the model can set a standard and provide an informative base for optimal cell replacement therapies such as embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived therapy.Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 07/2012; 31(6):661-87. DOI:10.1016/j.preteyeres.2012.06.003