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Allison Dorfman, Olga Dembinska, Sylvain Chemtob, Pierre Lachapelle; Early Manifestations of Postnatal Hyperoxia on the Retinal Structure and Function of the Neonatal Rat. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(1):458-466. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.07-0916.
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purpose. Postnatal hyperoxia in rats causes an arrest in growth of retinal blood vessels, along with severe changes in retinal ultrastructure and function. Previous studies focused on consequences of postnatal hyperoxia at time points substantially removed from the hyperoxic insult. In this study, the earliest manifestations of this retinopathy were examined.
methods Newborn rats were exposed to 80% O2 from birth to postnatal day 14. The retinas were collected for vascular assessment at postnatal days 6, 9, 12, and 14, and electroretinograms were recorded at postnatal days 15, 16, 17, 19, 24, 30, and 60, after which retinal histology was performed.
results Hyperoxia significantly attenuated vascular development, especially after 6 and 9 days of exposure which resulted in 64% and 72% of normal coverage, respectively. Vascular growth continued despite hyperoxic exposure, reaching 87% of normal by postnatal day 14. Electroretinograms of hyperoxic rats retained very immature features throughout with nearly abolished b-waves and relatively preserved a-waves. Finally, while retinal structure was virtually complete in the control animals by postnatal day 15, hyperoxic rats always showed a significantly thinner outer plexiform layer (OPL) and lower horizontal cell count (P < 0.05), irrespective of the duration of exposure.
conclusion The findings confirm previous reports of reduced retinal vascular coverage that accompanies the earliest manifestation of postnatal hyperoxia in rats and suggest increased retinal susceptibility to hyperoxia within the first week of life. However, despite the fact that vasculature appears to repair itself, irreversible cytoarchitectural and functional changes occur, the consequences of which are documented immediately after the cessation of hyperoxia.
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