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Ruth Schippert, Eva Burkhardt, Marita Feldkaemper, Frank Schaeffel; Relative Axial Myopia in Egr-1 (ZENK) Knockout Mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(1):11-17. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-0851.
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purpose. Experiments in chickens have implicated the transcription factor ZENK (also known as Egr-1, NGFI-A, zif268, tis8, cef5, and Krox24) in the feedback mechanisms for visual control of axial eye growth and myopia development. ZENK is upregulated in retinal glucagon amacrine cells when axial eye growth is inhibited by positive spectacle lens wear and is downregulated when it is enhanced by negative spectacle lens wear, suggesting that ZENK may be linked to an inhibitory signal for axial eye growth. This study was undertaken to determine whether a Egr-1 −/− knockout mouse mutant, lacking ZENK completely, has longer eyes and more myopic refraction, than do Egr-1 +/ − heterozygous and Egr-1 +/+ wild-type mice with near-identical genetic backgrounds.
methods. Eye growth and refractive development were tracked from day P28 to P98. Corneal radius of curvature was measured with infrared photokeratometry, refractive state with infrared photoretinoscopy, and ocular dimensions with low-coherence interferometry. As a functional vision test, grating acuity was determined in an automated optomotor task. The abundance of ZENK protein in the retina was quantified by immunohistochemistry.
results. Egr-1 knockout mice had longer eyes and a relative myopic shift in refraction, with additional minor effects on anterior chamber depth and corneal radius of curvature. Paraxial schematic eye modeling suggested changes in the optics of the crystalline lens as well. With increasing age, the differences between mutant and wild-type mice declined, although the differences in refraction persisted over the observation period. Grating acuity was not affected by the lack of the Egr-1 protein during development.
conclusions. Although it has been shown that different mouse strains may have differently large eyes, the present study shows that a specific gene knockout can produce relative myopia, compared with the wild-type with near-identical genetic background. Further experiments are needed to determine whether the observed effects of Egr-1 deletion are due to changes in function within the retina or other ocular tissues or to changes of function in other systems that may affect ocular growth from outside the eye.
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