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Anna-Marina van der Meer, Tanja Berger, Frank Müller, Ann Christina Foldenauer, Sandra Johnen, Peter Walter; Establishment and Characterization of a Unilateral UV-Induced Photoreceptor Degeneration Model in the C57Bl/6J Mouse. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(9):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.9.21.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate whether UV irradiation of the mouse eye can induce photoreceptor degeneration, producing a phenotype reminiscent of the rd10 mouse, left eyes of female C57Bl/6J mice were irradiated with a UV LED array (370 nm). A lens was placed between the cornea and LED, allowing illumination of about one-third of the retina. The short-term and long-term effects on the retina were evaluated.
First, a dose escalation study, in which corneal dosages between 2.8 and 9.3 J/cm2 were tested, was performed. A dosage of 7.5 J/cm2 was chosen for the following characterization study. Before and after irradiation slit-lamp examinations, full-field electroretinography, spectral domain optical coherence tomography and macroscopy were performed. After different time spans (5 days to 12 weeks) the animals were sacrificed and the retinae used for immunohistochemistry or multielectrode array testing. Right eyes served as untreated controls.
In treated eyes, spectral domain optical coherence tomography revealed a decrease in retinal thickness to 53%. Full-field electroretinography responses decreased significantly from day 5 on in treated eyes. Multielectrode array recordings revealed oscillatory potentials with a mean frequency of 5.2 \(\pm\) 0.6 Hz in the illuminated area. Structural changes in the retina were observed in immunohistochemical staining.
UV irradiation proved to be efficient in inducing photoreceptor degeneration in the mouse retina, while leaving the other retinal layers largely intact. The irradiated area of treated eyes can be identified easily in spectral domain optical coherence tomography and in explanted retinae.
This study provides information on anatomic and functional changes in UV-treated retina, enabling the use of this model for retinitis pigmentosa-like diseases in animals suited for experimental retinal surgery.
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