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Ettel Bubis, Ifat Sher, Alon Skaat, Inbal Sharvit-Ginon, Alicja M. Szalapak, Iris Moroz, Ofra Kalter-Leibovici, Ygal Rotenstreich; Blue Autofluorescence Fundus Imaging for Monitoring Retinal Degeneration in Royal College of Surgeons Rats. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(1):26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.1.26.
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Development of a method for noninvasive longitudinal follow-up of retinal degeneration in the whole retina for Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats, a commonly used model of retinitis pigmentosa associated with mutations in the MER-proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (MERTK) gene.
Pigmented RCS rats at postnatal (p) days p28 to p84 were subjected to a biweekly spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), blue laser fundus autofluorescence (BL-FAF) imaging, and multicolor fundus imaging. Wild-type (WT; Long Evans) rats were tested as control.
Hyperautofluorescence developed throughout the fundus at p42, concomitant with a significant increase in SD-OCT thickness and reflectivity of the debris zone (DZ) layer as well as thinning of the photoreceptor outer nuclear layer (ONL). From p56 to p84, discrete hypofluorescent lesions surrounded by hyperfluorescent flecks were demonstrated around the optic disc that gradually spread throughout the retina. The hypofluorescent lesions were associated with loss of ONL and gradual thinning of the DZ layer. No hypofluorescent BL-FAF lesions were observed in WT rats.
This study suggests that BL-FAF imaging may present a new method for noninvasive longitudinal follow-up of retinal degeneration in nearly the whole retina in RCS rats.
A clinical test was developed that may be implemented in translational studies in the RCS rat model of MERTK-associated retinitis pigmentosa.
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