The pig eye as a novel model of glaucoma.Exp Eye Res. 2005 Nov; 81(5):561-9.EE
We validated the pig eye as a model of glaucoma, based on chronic elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP was elevated by cauterising three episcleral veins in each of the left eyes of five adult pigs. Right eyes were used as controls. Measurement of IOP was performed during the experiment with an applanation tonometer (Tono-Pen). Five months after episcleral vein occlusion, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) from both cauterised and control eyes were retrogradely backfilled with Fluoro-Gold. Analysis of RGC loss and morphometric as characterization of surviving RGCs was performed using whole-mounted retinas. Elevation of IOP was apparent after three weeks of episcleral vein cauterisation and it remained elevated for at least 21 weeks (duration of the experiments). Analysis of RGC loss after chronic elevation of IOP revealed that RGC death was significant in the mid-peripheral and peripheral retina, mainly in the temporal quadrants of both retinal regions. Moreover the mean soma area of remaining RGCs was observed to increase and we found a greater loss of large RGCs in the mid-peripheral and peripheral retina. We conclude that the pattern of RGC death induced in the pig retina by episcleral vein cauterisation resembles that found in human glaucoma. On the basis of this study, the pig retina may be considered as a suitable model for glaucoma-related studies, based on its similarity with human and on its affordability.