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Alexander E. Salmon, Rex Chin-Hao Chen, Farid Atry, Mina Gaffney, Dana K. Merriman, Daniel A. Gil, Melissa C. Skala, Ross Collery, Kenneth P. Allen, Eric Buckland, Ramin Pashaie, Joseph Carroll; Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography in the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(8):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.8.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To assess the performance of two spectral-domain optical coherence tomography-angiography systems in a natural model of hypoperfusion: the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel (13-LGS).
Using a high-speed (130 kHz) OCT-A system (HS-OCT-A) and a commercial OCT (36 kHz; Bioptigen Envisu; BE-OCT-A), we imaged the 13-LGS retina throughout its hibernation cycle. Custom software was used to extract the superior, middle, and deep capillary plexus (SCP, MCP, and DCP, respectively). The retinal vasculature was also imaged with adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) during torpor to visualize individual blood cells. Finally, correlative histology with immunolabeled or DiI-stained vasculature was performed.
During euthermia, vessel density was similar between devices for the SCP and MCP (P = 0.88, 0.72, respectively), with a small difference in the DCP (−1.63 ± 1.54%, P = 0.036). Apparent capillary dropout was observed during torpor, but recovered after forced arousal, and this effect was exaggerated in high-speed OCT-A imaging. Based on cell flux measurements with AOSLO, increasing OCT-A scan duration by ∼1000× would avoid the apparent capillary dropout artifact. High correspondence between OCT-A (during euthermia) and histology enabled lateral scale calibration.
While the HS-OCT-A system provides a more efficient workflow, the shorter interscan interval may render it more susceptible to the apparent capillary dropout artifact. Disambiguation between capillary dropout and transient ischemia can have important implications in the management of retinal disease and warrants additional diagnostics.
The 13-LGS provides a natural model of hypoperfusion that may prove valuable in modeling the utility of OCT-A in human pathologies associated with altered blood flow.
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