Quantification of Changes in Visual Function During Disease Development in a Mouse Model of Pigmentary Glaucoma

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Abstract

Purpose:

We investigated the relationship between visual parameters that are commonly affected during glaucomatous disease progression with functional measures of retina physiology using electroretinography and behavioral measures of visual function in a mouse model of glaucoma. Electroretinogram components measuring retinal ganglion cell (RGC) responses were determined using the non-invasive Ganzfeld flash electroretinography (fERG) to assess RGC loss in a mouse model of glaucoma.

Methods:

Intraocular pressure (IOP), behaviorally assessed measures of visual function, namely visual acuity and contrast sensitivity as well as fERG responses were recorded in 4- and 11-month-old male DBA/2 mice. Scotopic threshold response (STR) and photopic negative response components as well as oscillatory potentials (OPs) were isolated from fERG responses and correlated with IOP, optomotor reflex measurements, and RGC counts.

Results:

The 11-month-old DBA/2 mice had significantly elevated IOP, reduced visual performance, as assessed behaviorally, significant RGC loss, deficits in standardized fERG responses, reduced STRs, and differences in OP amplitudes and latencies, when compared with 4-month-old mice of the same strain. STRs and OPs correlated with some visual and physiological parameters. In addition, elevated IOP and RGC loss correlated positively with measures of visual function, specifically with surrogate measures of RGC function derived from fERG.

Conclusions:

Our data suggest that RGC function as well as interactions of RGCs with other retinal cell types is impaired during glaucoma. In addition, a later OP wavelet denoted as OP4 in this study was identified as a very reproducible indicator of loss of visual function in the glaucoma mouse model.

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