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Thomas MacPherson, Jingtai Cao, George Yancopoulos, Stanley Wiegand; Novel Non-invasive in vivo Quantification of Ocular Inflammation using Optical Coherence Tomography in Mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2515.
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Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive method of imaging the retina in vivo, most commonly used in clinical practice to assess anatomical changes associated with vascular eye diseases. We evaluated the potential utility of OCT as a means for in-life quantitation of inflammatory and associated pathological changes in retinas of mice with experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU).
EAU was induced by immunization with human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein peptide (IRBP) in male C57Bl/6 mice. Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) was performed using the Heidelberg Spectralis HRA+OCT system before induction of EAU, and days 7, 14, and 20 post-EAU induction. Retinas were collected 21 days following immunization, sections stained with H&E and the extent of inflammation and associated pathology graded using a standard histopathological scale (Chan, 1990). An OCT scoring system was devised based on the above histopathological scoring method, and OCT images were scored by a masked observer. Inflammatory cell clusters and retinal thickness were also quantified separately by OCT. Three independent experiments were conducted, and correlations between OCT and histological scores were determined.
By Day 20, signs of inflammation and retinal damage were evident in the OCT images taken from IRBP immunized mice, including retinal edema, inflammatory cell clusters, sub-retinal lesions, retinal folds, vascular dilation, vasculitis, retinal layer disruptions and retinal detachment. In Study1 (n=17): the average OCT score on Day 20 (2.5 ± 0.34) was similar to that obtained by the standard histological scoring system (3.0 ± 0.30), with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.88 between methods. In Study2 (n=15): the average OCT score on Day 20 (2.3 ± 0.34) was identical to that of the histological score (2.3 ± 0.34), with an r of 0.91. In Study3 (n=36): average OCT score (1.4 ± 0.14) was again very similar to that of the histological score (1.6 ± 0.16), having an r of 0.88.
Results showed a strong correlation between OCT scores assessed in vivo and the standard histological method of scoring inflammation and retinal damage in mice with EAU. Thus, OCT imaging can serve as a rapid and accurate means of assessing inflammation and associated retinal damage in mice.
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