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Kosha Y. Dholakia, Andres Guevara-Torres, Guanping Feng, Derek Power, Jesse Schallek; In Vivo Capillary Structure and Blood Cell Flux in the Normal and Diabetic Mouse Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(2):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.2.18.
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To characterize the early structural and functional changes in the retinal microvasculature in response to hyperglycemia in the Ins2Akita mouse.
A custom phase-contrast adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscope was used to image retinal capillaries of 9 Ins2Akita positive (hyperglycemic) and 9 Ins2Akita negative (euglycemic) mice from postnatal weeks 5 to 18. A 15 kHz point scan was used to image capillaries and measure red blood cell flux at biweekly intervals; measurements were performed manually. Retinal thickness and fundus photos were captured monthly using a commercial scanning laser ophthalmoscope/optical coherence tomography. Retinal thickness was calculated using a custom algorithm. Blood glucose and weight were tracked throughout the duration of the study.
Elevated blood glucose (>250 mg/dL) was observed at 4 to 5 weeks of age in Ins2Akita mice and remained elevated throughout the study, whereas euglycemic littermates maintained normal glucose levels. There was no significant difference in red blood cell flux, capillary anatomy, lumen diameter, or occurrence of stalled capillaries between hyperglycemic and euglycemic mice between postnatal weeks 5 and 18. Hyperglycemic mice had a thinner retina than euglycemic littermates (p < 0.001), but retinal thickness did not change with duration of hyperglycemia despite glucose levels that were more than twice times normal.
In early stages of hyperglycemia, retinal microvasculature structure (lumen diameter, capillary anatomy) and function (red blood cell flux, capillary perfusion) were not impaired despite 3 months of chronically elevated blood glucose. These findings suggest that hyperglycemia alone for 3 months does not alter capillary structure or function in profoundly hyperglycemic mice.
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