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Da Zhao, Vickie H. Y. Wong, Christine T. O. Nguyen, Andrew I. Jobling, Erica L. Fletcher, Algis J. Vingrys, Bang V. Bui; Reversibility of Retinal Ganglion Cell Dysfunction From Chronic IOP Elevation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(12):3878-3886. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-27113.
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To test the hypothesis that the capacity for retinal ganglion cells to functionally recover from chronic IOP elevation is dependent on the duration of IOP elevation.
IOP elevation was induced in one eye in anesthetized (isoflurane) adult C57BL6/J mice using a circumlimbal suture. Sutures were left in place for 8 and 16 weeks (n = 30 and 28). In two other groups the suture was cut after 8 and 12 weeks (n = 30 and 28), and ganglion cell function (electroretinography) and retinal structure (optical coherence tomography) were assessed 4 weeks later. Ganglion cell density was quantified by counting RBPMS (RNA-binding protein with multiple splicing)–stained cells.
With IOP elevation (∼10 mm Hg above baseline), ganglion cell function declined to 75% ± 8% at 8 weeks and 59% ± 4% at 16 weeks relative to contralateral control eyes. The retinal nerve fiber layer was thinner at 8 (84% ± 4%) and 16 weeks (83% ± 3%), without a significant difference in total retinal thickness. Ganglion cell function recovered with IOP normalization (suture removal) at week 8 (97% ± 7%), but not at week 12 (73% ± 6%). Ganglion cell loss was found in all groups (−8% to −13%).
In the mouse circumlimbal suture model, 12 weeks of IOP elevation resulted in irreversible ganglion cell dysfunction, whereas retinal dysfunction was fully reversible after 8 weeks of IOP elevation.
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