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Kazuhisa Sugiyama, Zhao-Bin Gu, Chizuru Kawase, Tetsuya Yamamoto, Yoshiaki Kitazawa; Optic Nerve and Peripapillary Choroidal Microvasculature of the Rat Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1999;40(13):3084-3090.
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purpose. To investigate the three-dimensional microvascular anatomy of the optic
nerve and peripapillary choroid in the rat eye.
methods. Gross vascular anatomy of the posterior eye segment of Wistar rats was
studied in serial microsections with a light microscope. The optic
nerve and peripapillary choroidal vessels were sequentially
microdissected, using methylmethacrylate corrosion microvascular
castings, and were examined with a scanning electron microscope to
determine the three-dimensional relationships of the vessels.
results. The posterior ciliary artery traveled along the inferior side of the
optic nerve sheath, directly entered the optic nerve head, and divided
into three branches: the central retinal artery and medial and lateral
long posterior ciliary arteries, which provided several short branches
to the choroid. The optic nerve head vasculature was consistently
nourished by a recurrent arteriole from the central retinal artery and
an arteriole from the choroidal artery at the peripapillary choroid.
The central retinal vein flowed into a venous anastomosis along the
optic disc border of the peripapillary choroid. Capillaries within the
optic nerve drained into the central retinal vein, the marginal venous
anastomosis of the peripapillary choroid, and the pial veins, all of
which flowed into the posterior ciliary veins along the optic nerve
conclusions. The findings illustrate vascular anatomic differences in optic nerve
and peripapillary choroidal microcirculation between rat and human. In
rats, the peripapillary choroid plays a significant role in both blood
supply and venous drainage of the optic nerve head. The central retinal
artery also contributes to the optic nerve head
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