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Priyadarsini Asokan, Rajendra N. Mitra, Ramesh Periasamy, Zongchao Han, Teresa Borrás; A Naturally Fluorescent Mgp Transgenic Mouse for Angiogenesis and Glaucoma Longitudinal Studies. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(2):746-756. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22992.
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Our goal was to generate and characterize a new mouse model in which only angiogenesis- and glaucoma-relevant tissues would be naturally fluorescent. The Matrix Gla (MGP) gene is highly expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and trabecular meshwork (TM). We sought to direct our Mgp-Cre.KI mouse recombinase to VSMC/TM cells to produce their longitudinal fluorescent profiles.
Homozygous Mgp-Cre.KI mice were crossed with Ai9 homozygous reporter mice harboring a loxP-flanked STOP cassette preventing transcription of a DsRed fluorescent protein (tdTomato). The F1 double-heterozygous (Mgp-tdTomato) was examined by direct fluorescence, whole mount, histology, and fundus photography. Custom-made filters had 554/23 emission and 609/54 exciter nanometer wavelengths. Proof of concept of the model's usefulness was conducted by inducing guided imaging laser burns. Evaluation of a vessel's leakage and proliferation was followed by noninvasive angiography.
The Mgp-tdTomato mouse was viable, fertile, with normal IOP and ERG. Its phenotype exhibited red paws and snout (cartilage expression), which precluded genotyping. A fluorescent red ring was seen at the limbus and confirmed to be TM expression by histology. The entire retinal vasculature was red fluorescent (VSMC) and directly visualized by fundus photography. Laser burns on the Mgp-tdTomato allowed separation of leakiness and neovascularization evaluation parameters.
The availability of a transgenic mouse naturally fluorescent in glaucoma-relevant tissues and retinal vasculature brings the unique opportunity to study a wide spectrum of single and combined glaucomatous conditions in vivo. Moreover, the Mgp-tdTomato mouse provides a new tool to study mechanisms and therapeutics of retinal angiogenesis longitudinally.
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