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Alison L. Huckenpahler, Joseph Carroll, Alexander E. Salmon, Benjamin S. Sajdak, Rebecca R. Mastey, Kenneth P. Allen, Henry J. Kaplan, Maureen A. McCall; Noninvasive Imaging and Correlative Histology of Cone Photoreceptor Structure in the Pig Retina. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(6):38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.6.38.
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To evaluate different methods of studying cone photoreceptor structure in wild-type (WT) and transgenic pigs carrying the human rhodopsin P23H mutant gene (TgP23H).
For in vivo imaging, pigs were anesthetized with tiletamine-zolazepam and isoflurane and given lidocaine-bupivacaine retrobulbar injections. Stay sutures and a custom head mount were used to hold and steer the head for adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO). Six WT and TgP23H littermates were imaged at postnatal day 30 (P30), P90, and P180 with AOSLO and optical coherence tomography (OCT), and two additional sets of littermates were imaged at P3 and P15 with OCT only. AOSLO imaging and correlative differential interference contrast microscopy were performed on a P240 WT pig and on WT and TgP23H littermates at P30 and P180.
AOSLO cone density generally underestimates histology density (mean difference ± SD = 24.8% ± 21.4%). The intensity of the outer retinal hyperreflective OCT band attributed to photoreceptors is attenuated in TgP23H pigs at all ages. In contrast, AOSLO images show cones that retain inner and outer segments through P180. At retinal locations outside the visual streak, TgP23H pigs show a heterogeneous degenerating cone mosaic by using two criteria: variable contrast on a split detector AOSLO and high reflectivity on a confocal AOSLO.
AOSLO reveals that the cone mosaic is similar to ex vivo histology. Its use as a noninvasive tool will enable observation of morphologic changes that arise in the cone mosaic of TgP23H pigs over time.
Pigs are widely used for translational studies, and the ability to noninvasively assess cellular changes in the cone mosaic will facilitate more detailed investigations of new retinal disease models as well as outcomes of potential therapies.
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