Author(s): Vessey KA, WilkinsonBerka JL, Fletcher EL
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Abstract Retinal neovascularization, such as that occurring in proliferative diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity, can have serious effects on visual function. By using a mouse model of neovascularization, oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), the interplay among angiogenesis, neuronal function, and the macro- and micro-glial response was explored. OIR was induced by exposure of mice to 75\% oxygen from postnatal day 7 (P7) to P11 and then room air until P18. Controls were reared in room air. Blood vessel development was assessed by using fluorescence histochemistry. Aberrant intravitreal neovascularization was present across all eccentricities of retina in mice with OIR, whereas the number of vessels present in the deep plexus was reduced in the central regions. Neuronal function of both the rod and cone pathways, assessed by using the electroretinogram, was found to be significantly reduced in OIR. This may in part be explained by an alteration in photoreceptor outer segment morphology and also a loss of neurons and their synapses in the inner nuclear and plexiform layers of the central retina. In addition, there was an increase in the number of gliotic Müller cells and microglia in mice with OIR and the increase in the number of these cells correlated with the absence of the deep plexus. This indicates that the activity of both macro- and microglia is altered in regions where the deep plexus blood supply is deficient. Treatments or genetic manipulations directed toward amelioration of proliferative retinopathy need to address not only the vascular changes but also the alterations in neuronal and macro- and microglial function. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in J Comp Neurol
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research