Mouse model of sustained elevation in intraocular pressure produced by episcleral vein occlusion

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We have developed an inducible mouse model of glaucoma based on episcleral vein cauterization (EVC). Intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in adult mice was produced by cauterizing three episcleral veins. Serial IOP measurements were done by induction-impact tonometry. IOP was significantly elevated by 104±20% in 20 out of 23 mice (87%) within the first day after EVC, and remained elevated for 4 weeks, with mean IOP 94% higher in EVC-treated vs. contralateral control eyes. Aqueous outflow blockade was verified from the IOP response to pulsed fluid infusions into the anterior chamber. Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss, determined by retrograde labelling using Fluoro-Gold applied to the superior colliculous, was ∼20% at 2 weeks after EVC. We conclude that episcleral vein occlusion in mice produces significant and sustained elevation in IOP associated with increased outflow resistance and RGC loss, and thus may be useful to model glaucoma in genetically modified and drug-treated mice.

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