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Bernard J. Slater, Zara Mehrabian, Yan Guo, Allan Hunter, Steven L. Bernstein; Rodent Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (rAION) Induces Regional Retinal Ganglion Cell Apoptosis with a Unique Temporal Pattern. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(8):3671-3676. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.07-0504.
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purpose. Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) results in optic nerve damage with retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss. An NAION model, rodent anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (rAION), was used to determine AION-associated mechanisms of RGC death and associated regional retinal changes.
methods. rAION was induced in male Wistar rats, and the retinas analyzed at various times after induction. RGCs were positively identified by both retrograde fluorogold labeling and brain-expressed X-linked protein-1/2 (Bex1/2) immunoreactivity. RGC death was analyzed by fluorescein-tagged annexin-V labeling (FITC–annexin-V), as well as by terminal nucleotide nick-end labeling (TUNEL). Retinal flatmount preparations enabled regional retinal analysis of labeled dying cells. Apoptosis pathway activation was confirmed by Western analysis, with an antibody that recognizes cleaved caspase-3.
results. Post-rAION, RGCs die by apoptosis over a longer period than previously recognized. Cleaved caspase-3 immunoreactivity was greatest between 11 and 15 days. rAION-induced RGC death occurs regionally, with sparing of large contiguous regions of RGCs.
conclusions. rAION results in later RGC death than in traumatic optic nerve damage models. Apoptosis, measured by FITC-annexin, occurs maximally in the second to third week after infarct. Cleaved caspase-3 activation confirms that after rAION, RGCs undergo apoptosis by the caspase activation pathway. The regional pattern in dying RGCs after rAION implies that a measure of retinotopic organization occurs in the rodent optic nerve. The prolonged period from insult to death suggests that the window for successful treatment after ON infarct may be longer than previously recognized.
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