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Matthew J. Tarchick, Parastoo Bassiri, Rebecca M. Rohwer, Ivy S. Samuels; Early Functional and Morphologic Abnormalities in the Diabetic Nyxnob Mouse Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(7):3496-3508. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-18775.
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The electroretinogram c-wave is generated by the summation of the positive polarity hyperpolarization of the apical RPE membrane and a negative polarity slow PIII response of Müller glia cells. Therefore, the c-wave reduction noted in prior studies of mouse models of diabetes could reflect a reduction in the RPE component or an increase in slow PIII. The present study used a genetic approach to distinguish between these two alternatives.
Nyxnob mice lack the ERG b-wave, revealing the early phase of slow PIII. To visualize changes in slow PIII due to diabetes, Nyxnob mice were given streptozotocin (STZ) injections to induce diabetes or received vehicle as a control. After 1, 2, and 4 weeks of sustained hyperglycemia (>250 mg/dL), standard strobe flash ERG and dc-ERG testing were conducted. Histological analysis of the retina was performed.
A reduced c-wave was noted at the 1 week time point, and persisted at later time points. In comparison, slow PIII amplitudes were unaffected after 1 week of hyperglycemia, but were significantly reduced in STZ mice at the 2-week time point. The decrease in amplitude occurred before any identifiable decrease to the a-wave. At the later time point, the a-wave became involved, although the slow PIII reductions were more pronounced. Morphological abnormalities in the RPE, including increased thickness and altered melanosome distribution, were identified in diabetic animals.
Because the c-wave and slow PIII were both reduced, these results demonstrated that diabetes-induced reductions to the c-wave cannot be attributed to an early increase in the Müller glia-derived potassium conductance. Furthermore, because the a-wave, slow PIII and c-wave reductions were not equivalent, and varied in their onset, the reductions cannot reflect the same mechanism, such as a change in membrane resistance. The presence of small changes to RPE architecture indicate that the c-wave reductions present in diabetic mice likely represents a primary change in the RPE induced by hyperglycemia.
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