Laser-induced ocular hypertension in adult rats does not affect non-RGC neurons in the ganglion cell layer but results in protracted severe loss of cone-photoreceptors.Exp Eye Res. 2015 Mar; 132:17-33.EE
To investigate the long-term effects of laser-photocoagulation (LP)-induced ocular hypertension (OHT) in the innermost and outermost (outer-nuclear and outer segment)-retinal layers (ORL). OHT was induced in the left eye of adult rats. To investigate the ganglion cell layer (GCL) wholemounts were examined at 1, 3 or 6 months using Brn3a-immunodetection to identify retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and DAPI-staining to detect all nuclei in this layer. To study the effects of LP on the ORL up to 6 months, retinas were: i) fresh extracted to quantify the levels of rod-, S- and L-opsin; ii) cut in cross-sections for morphometric analysis, or; iii) prepared as wholemounts to quantify and study retinal distributions of entire populations of RGCs (retrogradely labeled with fluorogold, FG), S- and L-cones (immunolabeled). OHT resulted in wedge-like sectors with their apex on the optic disc devoid of Brn3a(+)RGCs but with large numbers of DAPI(+)nuclei. The levels of all opsins diminished by 2 weeks and further decreased to 20% of basal-levels by 3 months. Cross-sections revealed focal areas of ORL degeneration. RGC survival at 15 days represented approximately 28% and did not change with time, whereas the S- and L-cone populations diminished to 65% and 80%, or to 20 and 35% at 1 or 6 months, respectively. In conclusion, LP induces in the GCL selective RGCs loss that does not progress after 1 month, and S- and L-cone loss that progresses for up to 6 months. Thus, OHT results in severe damage to both the innermost and the ORL.