Dendritic changes in rat visual pathway associated with experimental ocular hypertension.Curr Eye Res. 2014 Sep; 39(9):953-63.CE
Increasing evidence shows that structural changes in dendrites play an important role in neuronal degenerative processes. The aims of this study were to characterize and delineate morphological changes of dendrites in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their central target neurons in the superior colliculus (SC) and lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) in experimental rat glaucoma.
Chronic ocular hypertension (OHT) was surgically induced in rats and animals were sacrificed at 1, 4, 8, 16 and 32 weeks following IOP elevation. Animals without IOP elevation served as normal control. Dendritic morphology of neurons was visualized by ex vivo DiI labelling using confocal microscopy and dendritic length and number was quantified using Image J.
We found significant dendritic shrinkage (p < 0.001) and loss (p < 0.001) in RGCs and neurons in the SC and LGN in OHT animals compared to age-matched controls. Analysis of the temporal morphological profiles among them revealed the RGCs to have the earliest changes compared to the SC and LGN although the most prominent changes occurred in the SC.
Our study has demonstrated that OHT results in dendritic changes of the neurons throughout the visual pathways, from RGCs to SC cells and LGN cells, suggesting that both the retina and the brain should be targeted when considering diagnosis and therapeutic strategies for glaucoma.