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Jurgen Sergeys, Isabelle Etienne, Inge Van Hove, Evy Lefevere, Ingeborg Stalmans, Jean H. M. Feyen, Lieve Moons, Tine Van Bergen; Longitudinal In Vivo Characterization of the Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mouse Model: Focus on Early Inner Retinal Responses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(2):807-822. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.18-25372.
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The goal of this study was to perform an extensive temporal characterization of the early pathologic processes in the streptozotocin (STZ)–induced diabetic retinopathy (DR) mouse model, beyond the vascular phenotype, and to investigate the potential of clinically relevant compounds in attenuating these processes.
Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity (CS) were studied in the mouse STZ model until 24 weeks postdiabetes onset. ERG, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), leukostasis, and immunohistochemistry were applied to investigate neurodegeneration, inflammation, and gliosis during early-, mid- and late-phase diabetes. Aflibercept or triamcinolone acetonide (TAAC) was administered to investigate their efficacy on the aforementioned processes.
Visual acuity and CS loss started at 4 and 18 weeks postdiabetes onset, respectively, and progressively declined over time. ERG amplitudes were diminished and OP latencies increased after 6 weeks, whereas SD-OCT revealed retinal thinning from 4 weeks postdiabetes. Immunohistochemical analyses linked these findings to retinal ganglion and cholinergic amacrine cell loss at 4 and 8 weeks postdiabetes onset, respectively, which was further decreased after aflibercept administration. The number of adherent leukocytes was augmented after 2 weeks, whereas increased micro- and macroglia reactivity was present from 4 weeks postdiabetes. Aflibercept or TAAC showed improved efficacy on inflammation and gliosis.
STZ-induced diabetic mice developed early pathologic DR hallmarks, from which inflammation seemed the initial trigger, leading to further development of functional and morphologic retinal changes. These findings indicate that the mouse STZ model is suitable to study novel integrative non-vascular therapies to treat early DR.
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