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Brad Fortune, Lin Wang, Bang V. Bui, Claude F. Burgoyne, George A. Cioffi; Idiopathic Bilateral Optic Atrophy in the Rhesus Macaque. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(11):3943-3956. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-1160.
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purpose. To document the existence of idiopathic bilateral optic atrophy (BOA) in rhesus macaque monkeys and to characterize the structural and functional consequences of this condition.
methods. In vivo assessment of retinal and optic nerve structure included fundus biomicroscopy and stereophotography. Functional analyses included transient pattern-reversal electroretinography (PERG) and full-field flash ERG, with both white flashes while dark adapted and red flashes on a blue background used to assess the photopic negative response (PhNR). Also measured were visual evoked cortical potentials (VEPs) and multifocal (mf)ERGs, with both a standard fast and slowed (7F) stimulation sequence. Post mortem histologic evaluation was performed on a subset of five animals with BOA and compared with data from 22 healthy normal animals. Blood tests, including vitamin E, B12, folate, lead, and complete blood cell count with differential were obtained on the four animals that remained alive.
results. Animals with BOA showed temporal pallor of the optic nerve head and thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) between the temporal vascular arcades (i.e., of the papillomacular bundle). Severity of optic atrophy and RNFL loss varied between animals from mild to severe, but was similar in the two eyes of each animal. Functional changes included greater loss of the PERG N95, compared with the P50 component and substantial reduction of mfERG high-frequency components. The mfERG low-frequency components were slightly larger than normal. None of the full-field flash ERG amplitudes (a-wave, b-wave, oscillatory potentials, or PhNR) was significantly different from normal. There were no consistent abnormalities found in the results of any blood test. Histologic findings included axonal loss and gliosis limited to the temporal optic nerve, reduction of nuclei within the retinal ganglion cell layer, and thinning of the temporal retinal RNFL.
conclusions. The existence of BOA in nonhuman primates warrants caution on the part of investigators who use these animals in experimental models of ophthalmic disease.
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