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Julie A. Schaub, Elizabeth C. Kimball, Matthew R. Steinhart, Cathy Nguyen, Mary E. Pease, Ericka N. Oglesby, Joan L. Jefferys, Harry A. Quigley; Regional Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Loss in a Murine Glaucoma Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(5):2765-2773. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-21761.
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To determine if retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon loss in experimental mouse glaucoma is uniform in the optic nerve.
Experimental glaucoma was induced for 6 weeks with a microbead injection model in CD1 (n = 78) and C57BL/6 (B6, n = 68) mice. From epoxy-embedded sections of optic nerve 1 to 2 mm posterior to the globe, total nerve area and regional axon density (axons/1600 μm2) were measured in superior, inferior, nasal, and temporal zones.
Control eyes of CD1 mice have higher axon density and more total RGCs than control B6 mice eyes. There were no significant differences in control regional axon density in all mice or by strain (all P > 0.2, mixed model). Exposure to elevated IOP caused loss of RGC in both strains. In CD1 mice, axon density declined without significant loss of nerve area, while B6 mice had less density loss, but greater decrease in nerve area. Axon density loss in glaucoma eyes was not significantly greater in any region in either mouse strain (both P > 0.2, mixed model). In moderately damaged CD1 glaucoma eyes, and CD1 eyes with the greatest IOP elevation exposure, density loss differed by region (P = 0.05, P = 0.03, mixed model) with the greatest loss in the temporal and superior regions, while in severely injured B6 nerves superior loss was greater than inferior loss (P = 0.01, mixed model, Bonferroni corrected).
There was selectively greater loss of superior and temporal optic nerve axons of RGCs in mouse glaucoma at certain stages of damage. Differences in nerve area change suggest non-RGC responses differ between mouse strains.
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