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Suna Jung, Aaron Johnstone, Zehra Khoja, Emmanouil Rampakakis, Pierre Lachapelle, Pia Wintermark; Sildenafil Improves Functional and Structural Outcome of Retinal Injury Following Term Neonatal Hypoxia-Ischemia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(10):4306-4314. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-19385.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of sildenafil on retinal injury following neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) at term-equivalent age in rat pups.
Hypoxia-ischemia was induced in male Long-Evans rat pups at postnatal day 10 (P10) by a left common carotid ligation followed by a 2-hour exposure to 8% oxygen. Sham-operated rats served as the control group. Both groups were administered vehicle or 2, 10, or 50 mg/kg sildenafil, twice daily for 7 consecutive days. Retinal function was assessed by flash electroretinograms (ERGs) at P29, and retinal structure was assessed by retinal histology at P30.
Hypoxia-ischemia caused significant functional (i.e., attenuation of the ERG a-wave and b-wave amplitudes and photopic negative response) and structural (i.e., thinning of the total retina, especially the inner retinal layers) retinal damage in the left eyes (i.e., ipsilateral to the carotid ligation). Treatment with the different doses of sildenafil led to a dose-dependent increase in the amplitudes of the ERG a- and b-waves and of the photopic negative response in HI animals, with higher doses associated with greater effect sizes. Similarly, a dose response was observed in terms of improvements in the retinal layer thicknesses.
Hypoxia-ischemia at term-equivalent age induced functional and structural damage mainly to the inner retina. Treatment with sildenafil provided a dose-dependent recovery of retinal function and structure.
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