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Johanna H. Meyer, Janine Marx, Claudine Strack, Frank G. Holz, Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg; Imaging of Therapeutic Effects of Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Inhibitors by Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography in a Rat Model. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(7):29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.7.29.
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The aim of the study was to investigate optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) as a high-resolution in vivo imaging modality for monitoring therapeutic response to different vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors in the rat model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Further, OCTA findings were compared with fluorescein angiography (FA) and fluorescence microscopy.
Laser treatment at day (D)0 was followed by intravitreal injection of aflibercept, AF564, and NaCl in dark agouti rats. Imaging with OCTA and FA was performed at D2, D7, D14, and D21. OCTA was compared to FA as well as confocal imaged flat mounts and analysis included quantification of CNV area, pixel intensity, vessel density, and number of vessel junctions.
Within laser lesions, neovascularization were visible especially in deeper retinal layers on OCTA, but not on FA images. Using OCTA, mean CNV area (D21) at the level of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) was 0.017 mm² following aflibercept administration, 0.016 mm² following AF564 and 0.026 mm² following NaCl injection (P = 0.04 and P = 0.03). Similar differences between treatment groups were determined by FA and histology, although the overall CNV area was always larger on FA due to dye leakage (P ≤ 0.0001, all layers).
Compared to FA, OCTA imaging allows for a more precise and quantitative analysis of new blood vessel formation and therapeutic response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-inhibitors, whereas it does not permit assessment of leakage.
These findings suggest that OCTA may be particularly useful for the investigation of new treatment targets in the animal model.
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