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Bruce A. Berkowitz, Bryce X. Bredell, Christopher Davis, Marijana Samardzija, Christian Grimm, Robin Roberts; Measuring In Vivo Free Radical Production by the Outer Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(13):7931-7938. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-18420.
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Excessive and continuously produced free radicals in the outer retina are implicated in retinal aging and the pathogenesis of sight-threatening retinopathies, yet measuring outer retinal oxidative stress in vivo remains a challenge. Here, we test the hypothesis that continuously produced paramagnetic free radicals from the outer retina can be measured in vivo using high-resolution (22-μm axial resolution) 1/T1magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without and with a confirmatory quench (quench-assisted MRI).
Low-dose sodium iodate–treated and diabetic C57Bl6/J mice (and their controls), and rod-dominated (129S6) or cone-only R91W;Nrl−/− mice were studied. In dark-adapted groups, 1/T1 was mapped transretinally in vivo without or with (1) the antioxidant combination of methylene blue (MB) and α-lipoic acid (LPA), or (2) light exposure; in subgroups, retinal superoxide production was measured ex vivo (lucigenin).
In the sodium iodate model, retinal superoxide production and outer retina-specific 1/T1 values were both significantly greater than normal and corrected to baseline with MB+LPA therapy. Nondiabetic mice at two ages and 1.2-month diabetic mice (before the appearance of oxidative stress) had similar transretinal 1/T1 profiles. By 2.3 months of diabetes, only outer retinal 1/T1 values were significantly greater than normal and were corrected to baseline with MB+LPA therapy. In mice with healthy photoreceptors, a light quench caused 1/T1 of rods, but not cones, to significantly decrease from their values in the dark.
Quench-assisted MRI is a feasible method for noninvasively measuring normal and pathologic production of free radicals in photoreceptors/RPE in vivo.
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