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Carla J. Abbott, Tiffany E. Choe, Theresa A. Lusardi, Claude F. Burgoyne, Lin Wang, Brad Fortune; Evaluation of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness and Axonal Transport 1 and 2 Weeks After 8 Hours of Acute Intraocular Pressure Elevation in Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(2):674-687. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.13-12811.
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To compare in vivo retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFLT) and axonal transport at 1 and 2 weeks after an 8-hour acute IOP elevation in rats.
Forty-seven adult male Brown Norway rats were used. Procedures were performed under anesthesia. The IOP was manometrically elevated to 50 mm Hg or held at 15 mm Hg (sham) for 8 hours unilaterally. The RNFLT was measured by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. Anterograde and retrograde axonal transport was assessed from confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy imaging 24 hours after bilateral injections of 2 μL 1% cholera toxin B-subunit conjugated to AlexaFluor 488 into the vitreous or superior colliculi, respectively. Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) and microglial densities were determined using antibodies against Brn3a and Iba-1.
The RNFLT in experimental eyes increased from baseline by 11% at 1 day (P < 0.001), peaked at 19% at 1 week (P < 0.0001), remained 11% thicker at 2 weeks (P < 0.001), recovered at 3 weeks (P > 0.05), and showed no sign of thinning at 6 weeks (P > 0.05). There was no disruption of anterograde transport at 1 week (superior colliculi fluorescence intensity, 75.3 ± 7.9 arbitrary units [AU] for the experimental eyes and 77.1 ± 6.7 AU for the control eyes) (P = 0.438) or 2 weeks (P = 0.188). There was no obstruction of retrograde transport at 1 week (RCG density, 1651 ± 153 per mm2 for the experimental eyes and 1615 ± 135 per mm2 for the control eyes) (P = 0.63) or 2 weeks (P = 0.25). There was no loss of Brn3a-positive RGC density at 6 weeks (P = 0.74) and no increase in microglial density (P = 0.92).
Acute IOP elevation to 50 mm Hg for 8 hours does not cause a persisting axonal transport deficit at 1 or 2 weeks or a detectable RNFLT or RGC loss by 6 weeks but does lead to transient RNFL thickening that resolves by 3 weeks.
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