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Clayton C. Tokunaga, Yi-Hao Chen, Wendelin Dailey, Mei Cheng, Kimberly A. Drenser; Retinal Vascular Rescue of Oxygen-Induced Retinopathy in Mice by Norrin. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(1):222-229. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-10127.
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Wnt-signaling has been implicated in retinal development. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of improving retinal vasculature in an animal model of retinopathy by activating Wnt-signaling.
C57BL/6J mice were evaluated using a model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Test animals were divided in three groups and treated at postnatal day (P) 14 with intravitreal injections of Wnt-signaling modulators (respectively, norrin, Dickkopf-related protein 1 [DKK1], and norrin + DKK1) in one eye. A fourth group of animals were treated with injection of PBS in one eye as well and used as a control group. Areas of avascular retina and neovascular tufts in injected (treated) eyes and noninjected fellow eyes were determined in each of the four groups at P17 (3 days after intravitreal injection) and the difference related to these characteristics was obtained among them. To evaluate the effect of norrin on progression of retinopathy, a fifth litter (eight animals) was also treated with norrin and these retinas were evaluated at different time points.
Modulation of Wnt-signaling consistently shows a statistically significant decrease in the avascular area of the retinas. Treatment with norrin (Wnt-signaling activator) or DKK1 (canonical signaling inhibitor) results in a statistically significant reduction of retinal avascular area compared with control eyes. Neovascular tufts were also reduced in treated eyes, albeit to a lesser extent.
Modulation of Wnt-signaling improves retinal vascularization and accelerates vascular recovery after induction of retinopathy in the OIR mouse. Activation of Wnt-signaling (norrin) and inhibition of Wnt-canonical signaling (DKK1) result in similar improvement, indicating that norrin promotes improved vascularization, at least in part, by way of noncanonical Wnt-signaling.
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