Author(s): VidalSanz M, SalinasNavarro M, NadalNicols FM, AlarcnMartnez L, ValienteSoriano FJ,
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Abstract Glaucoma, the second most common cause of blindness, is characterized by a progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells and their axons, with a concomitant loss of the visual field. Although the exact pathogenesis of glaucoma is not completely understood, a critical risk factor is the elevation, above normal values, of the intraocular pressure. Consequently, deciphering the anatomical and functional changes occurring in the rodent retina as a result of ocular hypertension has potential value, as it may help elucidate the pathology of retinal ganglion cell degeneration induced by glaucoma in humans. This paper predominantly reviews the cumulative information from our laboratory's previous, recent and ongoing studies, and discusses the deleterious anatomical and functional effects of ocular hypertension on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in adult rodents. In adult rats and mice, perilimbar and episcleral vein photocauterization induces ocular hypertension, which in turn results in devastating damage of the RGC population. In wide triangular sectors, preferentially located in the dorsal retina, RGCs lose their retrograde axonal transport, first by a functional impairment and after by mechanical causes. This axonal damage affects up to 80\% of the RGC population, and eventually causes their death, with somal and intra-retinal axonal degeneration that resembles that observed after optic nerve crush. Importantly, while ocular hypertension affects the RGC population, it spares non-RGC neurons located in the ganglion cell layer of the retina. In addition, functional and morphological studies show permanent alterations of the inner and outer retinal layers, indicating that further to a crush-like injury of axon bundles in the optic nerve head there may by additional insults to the retina, perhaps of ischemic nature. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Prog Retin Eye Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology