Angiography reveals novel features of the retinal vasculature in healthy and diabetic mice

Sam Mclenachan, Aaron Magno, D. Ramos, J. Catita, P.G. Mcmenamin, Fred Chen, Elizabeth Rakoczy, J. Ruberte

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54 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. The mouse retina is a commonly used animal model for the study of pathogenesis and treatment of blinding retinal vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy. In this study, we aimed to characterize normal and pathological variations in vascular anatomy in the mouse retina using fluorescein angiography visualized with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and optical coherence tomography (SLO-OCT). We examined eyes from C57BL/6J wild type mice as well as the Ins2Akita and Akimba mouse models of diabetic retinopathy using the Heidelberg Retinal Angiography (HRA) and OCT system. Angiography was performed on three focal planes to examine distinct vascular layers. For comparison with angiographic data, exvivo analyses, including Indian ink angiography, histology and 3D confocal scanning laser microscopy were performed in parallel. All layers of the mouse retinal vasculature could be readily visualized during fluorescein angiography by SLO-OCT. Blood vessel density was increased in the deep vascular plexus (DVP) compared with the superficial vascular plexus (SVP). Arteriolar and venular typologies were established and structural differences were observed between venular types. Unexpectedly, the hyaloid artery was found to persist in 15% of C57BL/6 mice, forming anastomoses with peripheral retinal capillaries. Fluorescein leakage was easily detected in Akimba retinae by angiography, but was not observed in Ins2Akita mice. Blood vessel density was increased in the DVP of 6 month old Ins2Akita mice, while the SVP displayed reduced branching in precapillary arterioles. In summary, we present the first comprehensive characterization of the mouse retinal vasculature by SLO-OCT fluorescein angiography. Using this clinical imaging technique, we report previously unrecognized variations in C57BL/6J vascular anatomy and novel features of vascular retinopathy in the Ins2Akita mouse model of diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-21
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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