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Brad Fortune, Juan Reynaud, Christy Hardin, Lin Wang, Ian A. Sigal, Claude F. Burgoyne; Experimental Glaucoma Causes Optic Nerve Head Neural Rim Tissue Compression: A Potentially Important Mechanism of Axon Injury. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(10):4403-4411. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-20000.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We tested the hypothesis that experimental glaucoma (EG) results in greater thinning of the optic nerve head (ONH) neural rim tissue than the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) tissue.
Longitudinal spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) imaging of the ONH and peripapillary RNFL was performed every other week under manometric IOP control (10 mm Hg) in 51 nonhuman primates (NHP) during baseline and after induction of unilateral EG. The ONH parameter minimum rim area (MRA) was derived from 80 radial B-scans centered on the ONH; RNFL cross-sectional area (RNFLA) from a peripapillary circular B-scan with 12° diameter.
In control eyes, MRA was 1.00 ± 0.19 mm2 at baseline and 1.00 ± 0.19 mm2 at the final session (P = 0.77), while RNFLA was 0.95 ± 0.09 and 0.95 ± 0.10 mm2, respectively (P = 0.96). In EG eyes, MRA decreased from 1.00 ± 0.19 mm2 at baseline to 0.63 ± 0.21 mm2 at the final session (P < 0.0001), while RNFLA decreased from 0.95 ± 0.09 to 0.74 ± 0.19 mm2, respectively (P < 0.0001). Thus, MRA decreased by 36.4 ± 20.6% in EG eyes, significantly more than the decrease in RNFLA (21.7 ± 19.4%, P < 0.0001). Other significant changes in EG eyes included increased Bruch's membrane opening (BMO) nonplanarity (P < 0.05), decreased BMO aspect ratio (P < 0.0001), and decreased MRA angle (P < 0.001). Bruch's membrane opening area did not change from baseline in either control or EG eyes (P = 0.27, P = 0.15, respectively).
Optic nerve head neural rim tissue thinning exceeded peripapillary RNFL thinning in NHP EG. These results support the hypothesis that axon bundles are compressed transversely within the ONH rim along with glaucomatous deformation of connective tissues.
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