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Corey A. Smith, Michele L. Hooper, Balwantray C. Chauhan; Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography in Mice: Quantitative Analysis After Experimental Models of Retinal Damage. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(5):1556-1565. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-26441.
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We implemented optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) in mice to: (1) develop quantitative parameters from OCT-A images, (2) measure the reproducibility of the parameters, and (3) determine the impact of experimental models of inner and outer retinal damage on OCT-A findings.
OCT-A images were acquired with a customized system (Spectralis Multiline OCT2). To assess reproducibility, imaging was performed five times over 1 month. Inner retinal damage was induced with optic nerve transection, crush, or intravitreal N-methyl-d-aspartic acid injection in transgenic mice with fluorescently labeled retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Light-induced retinal damage was induced in albino mice. Mice were imaged at baseline and serially post injury. Perfusion density, vessel length, and branch points were computed from OCT-A images of the superficial, intermediate, and deep vascular plexuses.
The range of relative differences measured between sessions across the vascular plexuses were: perfusion density (2.8%–7.0%), vessel length (1.9%–4.1%), and branch points (1.9%–5.0%). In mice with progressive RGC loss, imaged serially and culminating in around 70% loss in the fluorescence signal and 18% loss in inner retinal thickness, there were no measurable changes in any OCT-A parameter up to 4 months post injury that exceeded measurement variability. However, light-induced retinal damage elicited a progressive loss of the deep vascular plexus signal, starting as early as 3 days post injury.
Vessel length and branch points were generally the most reproducible among the parameters. Injury causing RGC loss in mice did not elicit an early change in the OCT-A signal.
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