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Giuseppe Rovere, Francisco M. Nadal-Nicolás, Marta Agudo-Barriuso, Paloma Sobrado-Calvo, Leticia Nieto-López, Carlo Nucci, María P. Villegas-Pérez, Manuel Vidal-Sanz; Comparison of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thinning and Retinal Ganglion Cell Loss After Optic Nerve Transection in Adult Albino Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(8):4487-4498. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-17145.
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We compared the time-course and magnitude of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning with that of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss after intraorbital optic nerve transection (IONT) in adult rats.
At 3, 7, 12, or 21 days, or 1, 2, or 4 months after ONT, the retinas were imaged with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) using the circular-peripapillary scan and volume scan raster pattern (61 horizontal sections equally spaced) both centered in the optic nerve. In all sections, the RNFL and retinal thickness were measured to obtain the total values of the peripapillary scan and the values of three concentric sectors (400, 1200, and 2400 μm in diameter) from the volume scan. After SD-OCT, retinas were dissected and immunoreacted for Brn3a and neurofilaments (pNFH) to identify RGCs and their intraretinal axons, respectively. Total numbers of RGCs were quantified.
Thinning of the RNFL was first observed at 12 days in peripapillary scan (10% decrease) and progressed up to 4 months (72% decrease). The volume scan showed transient RNFL swelling in central and medial sectors at 3, 7, and 12 days followed by progressive significant thinning first observed at 21 days (central sector, 30%; medial sector, 40%) and 12 days (peripheral sector, 15%), respectively. Following IONT, Brn3a+ RGCs decreased to approximately 80%, 52%, 17%, 9%, 5%, 3%, and 2% at 3, 7, 12, 21 days, and at 1, 2, and 4 months, respectively. Retinal ganglion cell axon immunodetection decreased from 12 days onwards.
After IONT, RGC death is more severe and precedes thinning of the RNFL.
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