Optometry and Vision Sciences - Research Publications

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    Implantation and Recording of Wireless Electroretinogram and Visual Evoked Potential in Conscious Rats
    Charng, J ; He, Z ; Bui, B ; Vingrys, A ; Ivarsson, M ; Fish, R ; Gurrell, R ; Nguyen, C (JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, 2016-06-01)
    The full-field electroretinogram (ERG) and visual evoked potential (VEP) are useful tools to assess retinal and visual pathway integrity in both laboratory and clinical settings. Currently, preclinical ERG and VEP measurements are performed with anesthesia to ensure stable electrode placements. However, the very presence of anesthesia has been shown to contaminate normal physiological responses. To overcome these anesthesia confounds, we develop a novel platform to assay ERG and VEP in conscious rats. Electrodes are surgically implanted sub-conjunctivally on the eye to assay the ERG and epidurally over the visual cortex to measure the VEP. A range of amplitude and sensitivity/timing parameters are assayed for both the ERG and VEP at increasing luminous energies. The ERG and VEP signals are shown to be stable and repeatable for at least 4 weeks post surgical implantation. This ability to record ERG and VEP signals without anesthesia confounds in the preclinical setting should provide superior translation to clinical data.
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    AAV-mediated gene delivery of the calreticulin anti-angiogenic domain inhibits ocular neovascularization
    Tu, L ; Wang, J-H ; Barathi, VA ; Prea, SM ; He, Z ; Lee, JH ; Bender, J ; King, AE ; Logan, GJ ; Alexander, IE ; Bee, Y-S ; Tai, M-H ; Dusting, GJ ; Bui, BV ; Zhong, J ; Liu, G-S (SPRINGER, 2018-02-01)
    Ocular neovascularization is a common pathological feature in diabetic retinopathy and neovascular age-related macular degeneration that can lead to severe vision loss. We evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of a novel endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis, the calreticulin anti-angiogenic domain (CAD180), and its functional 112-residue fragment, CAD-like peptide 112 (CAD112), delivered using a self-complementary adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (scAAV2) in rodent models of oxygen-induced retinopathy and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. The expression of CAD180 and CAD112 was elevated in human umbilical vein endothelial cells transduced with scAAV2-CAD180 or scAAV2-CAD112, respectively, and both inhibited angiogenic activity in vitro. Intravitreal gene delivery of scAAV2-CAD180 or scAAV2-CAD112 significantly inhibited ischemia-induced retinal neovascularization in rat eyes (CAD180: 52.7% reduction; CAD112: 49.2% reduction) compared to scAAV2-mCherry, as measured in retinal flatmounts stained with isolectin B4. Moreover, the retinal structure and function were unaffected by scAAV2-CAD180 or scAAV2-CAD112, as measured by optical coherence tomography and electroretinography. Moreover, subretinal delivery of scAAV2-CAD180 or scAAV2-CAD112 significantly attenuated laser-induced choroidal neovascularization in mouse eyes compared to scAAV2-mCherry, as measured by fundus fluorescein angiography (CAD180: 62.4% reduction; CAD112: 57.5% reduction) and choroidal flatmounts (CAD180: 40.21% reduction; CAD112: 43.03% reduction). Gene delivery using scAAV2-CAD180 or scAAV2-CAD112 has significant potential as a therapeutic option for the management of ocular neovascularization.
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    Response of the trilaminar retinal vessel network to intraocular pressure elevation in rat eyes
    Bui, BV ; Zhao, D ; Wang, L ; Fortune, B ; He, Z (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2018-07-01)
    Purpose : It is known that inner retinal blood flow is autoregulated to compensate for changes in ocular perfusion pressure (OPP). However, studies have focused on the superficial vessels. Here we test the hypothesis that the superficial, intermediate and deep retinal vascular plexus show different responses to intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation. Methods : Anesthetized (60:5mg/kg ketamine:xylazine) adult Long Evans rats (n=14) were imaged using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) at baseline (IOP 10mmHg) and in follow up mode to examine the vasculature during IOP elevation (10mmHg steps to 110mmHg, each lasting 3 min). We imaged a 20 x 10-degree field starting at one disc diameter from the optic disc margin. Capillary area (i.e. diameter) within a 2D projection image was determined (% region of interest) for three layers based on segmentation of the structural OCT: superficial vascular complex (SVC), intermediate capillary plexus (ICP) and deep capillary plexus (DVP). Increases and decreases in this parameter can be interpreted as functional “vasodilation” and “vasoconstriction”, respectively, of the column of blood flowing above threshold. Comparisons were made between layers (2-way repeated measures ANOVA, layer vs IOP) following normalisation to baseline (% relative to 10mmHg). Results : Group mean arterial blood pressure at baseline was 125±5 mmHg, thus for the IOPs examined OPP spanned 115±5 to -9±4 mmHg. For OPPs from 115±5 to 77±4 mmHg capillaries within the DCP (9±8%, p<0.05) and ICP (11±10%, p<0.05) showed significant “vasodilation”, whereas those in the SVC showed constriction (-14±6%, p<0.05). For OPPs between 63±4 and 38±4 mmHg, capillary diameter was maintained, by for OPPs below 38mmHg, all layers showed linear attenuation. Significant compression in tissue thickness (retinal nerve fibre, ganglion cell and inner plexiform layers and total retinal thickness) for the same regions were not found until OPP fell below 38mmHg. Conclusions : These data show that the intermediate and deep vascular plexus in the rat retina have a greater capacity for autoregulation against IOP elevation. This might reflect a redistribution of blood flow to the deeper layers during stress. This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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    Reversibility of retinal ganglion cell dysfunction due to chronic IOP elevation.
    Zhao, D ; Wong, VHY ; He, Z ; Nguyen, CTO ; Jobling, AI ; Fletcher, E ; Chinnery, H ; Jusuf, P ; Lim, JKH ; Vingrys, AJ ; Bui, BV (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2018-07-01)
    Purpose : To determine the duration of chronic IOP elevation beyond which ganglion cell function can no longer recover using the mouse circumlimbal suture model. Methods : IOP elevation was induced in anaesthetized (isoflurane) adult male C57BL6/J mice by attaching a circumlimbal suture (nylon, 10/0) around the equator of one eye, with the contralateral eye serving as a control. The suture was left in place for 8, 12 and 16 weeks (n=27, 23 and 27), respectively, and animals underwent electroretinography and optical coherence tomography at these time points. In two other groups, the suture was removed after 8 and 12 weeks (n=26 and 28), and the capacity for recovery assessed 4 weeks later. IOP was measured weekly (Tonolab). Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) function (or integrity) was assessed with the positive scotopic threshold response (pSTR) and retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness. Data (mean ± SEM) were compared using t-test (control vs. treatment) and one-way ANOVA (within groups). Results : IOP in sutured eyes was higher than control eyes (8wk: 17.1 ± 0.3 vs. 26.8 ± 0.6 mmHg, 12wk: 13.8 ± 0.3 vs. 19.5 ± 0.5 mmHg, 16wk: 17.1 ± 0.2 vs. 27.4 ± 0.6 mmHg; all P<0.001). After suture removal, IOP returned to levels comparable to control eyes (8+4wk: 16.9 ± 0.3 vs. 16.1 ± 0.3 mmHg; P=0.08, 12+4wk: 17.3 ± 0.2 vs. 17.1 ± 0.3 mmHg; P=0.5). With IOP elevation, RGC function declined to 75% ± 8% (8wk), 78% ± 7% (12wk) and 59% ± 4% (16wk, all P<0.001) of control eyes. RNFL thinning was also evident (8wk: 84% ± 4%, 12wk: 83% ± 5%; 16wk: 83% ± 3%; P<0.001) but no change in total retinal thickness was noted (P=0.33). Suture removal at week 8 facilitated full recovery of RGC function (97% ± 7%, P=0.9 vs. baseline) 4 weeks later. However, there was no recovery in RNFL thickness (87% ± 3%, P<0.001 vs. baseline). When the suture was removed at week 12, neither function (79% ± 9%, P<0.05) nor RNFL thickness recovered (89% ± 3%, P<0.01) 4 weeks later. Conclusions : RGC dysfunction can be recovered 4 weeks after an 8-week period of mild IOP elevation, but not after a 12-week period. Beyond 12 weeks, IOP reversal only served to prevent further functional decline. This identifies a critical chronic IOP duration that results in irreversible ganglion cell dysfunction. This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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    Response of the Rat Optic Nerve to Acute Intraocular and Intracranial Pressure Changes
    Zhao, D ; He, Z ; Van Koeverden, A ; Vingrys, AJ ; Wong, VHY ; Lim, JKH ; Nguyen, CTO ; Bui, BV ; Wang, N (Springer, 2019)
    Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease, characterized by the progressive death of retinal ganglion cells. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is known to be an important risk factor for glaucoma; however, it is not the only force acting on the optic nerve. Intracranial pressure (ICP) also exerts an effect on the optic nerve head, effectively opposing the force applied by IOP. Indeed, this balance of forces creates a pressure gradient (or the translaminar pressure gradient) across the optic nerve head [1]. Increasingly it is thought that the pressure difference between IOP and ICP, the translaminar pressure (TLP), may be critical for the integrity of the retina and optic nerve [2], and thus ICP may be an important risk factor for glaucoma [2–6].
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    A Model of Glaucoma Induced by Circumlimbal Suture in Rats and Mice
    He, Z ; Zhao, D ; van Koeverden, AK ; Nguyen, CT ; Lim, JKH ; Wong, VHY ; Vingrys, AJ ; Bui, BV (Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2018)
    The circumlimbal suture is a technique for inducing experimental glaucoma in rodents by chronically elevating intraocular pressure (IOP), a well-known risk factor for glaucoma. This protocol demonstrates a step-by-step guide on this technique in Long Evans rats and C57BL/6 mice. Under general anesthesia, a "purse-string" suture is applied on the conjunctiva, around the equator and behind the limbus of the eye. The fellow eye serves as an untreated control. Over the duration of our study, which was a period of 8 weeks for rats and 12 weeks for mice, IOP remained elevated, as measured regularly by rebound tonometry in conscious animals without topical anesthesia. In both species, the sutured eyes showed electroretinogram features consistent with preferential inner retinal dysfunction. Optical coherence tomography showed selective thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer. Histology of the rat retina in cross-section found reduced cell density in the ganglion cell layer, but no change in other cellular layers. Staining of flat-mounted mouse retinae with a ganglion cell specific marker (RBPMS) confirmed ganglion cell loss. The circumlimbal suture is a simple, minimally invasive and cost-effective way to induce ocular hypertension that leads to ganglion cell injury in both rats and mice.
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    Effect of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and short wavelength light on in vivo retinal function and structure in mouse eyes
    Heriot, W ; Wong, VHY ; He, Z ; Anh, H ; Lim, JKH ; Nishimura, T ; Zhao, D ; Metha, AB ; Bui, B (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-04-30)
    CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can lead to both acute and chronic changes to both retinal structure and function. BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have the potential for retina toxicity. The acute impact of short-term drug exposure (2-4 weeks) on in vivo retinal structure and function and assess whether short wavelength light exposure further exacerbates any structural and functional changes was assessed in a murine model. METHODS: Adult C57BL/6 J mice received intraperitoneal injection of vehicle or hydroxychloroquine (10 mg/kg) 3 times per week for 2 or 4 weeks, or chloroquine for 4 weeks (10 mg/kg). Over this period, animals were exposed to room light (8 hours) or short-wavelength light 4 hours per day (4 hours of normal room light) for 5 days each week. Retinal changes were assessed using electroretinography (ERG), in vivo optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. RESULTS: Short-term low-dose HCQ and CQ treatment led to RPE thickening and elongation of photoreceptors. These structural changes were associated with a no dysfunction in the case of HCQ treatments and widespread functional changes (photoreceptor sensitivity, bipolar cell amplitude and oscillatory potential amplitude) in the case of CQ treatment. Exposure to low intensity short-wavelength light does not appear to alter the effect of HCQ or CQ. CONCLUSIONS: HCQ and CQ treatment has acute effects on both retinal structure and function, effects that were not exacerbated by short wavelength light exposure. Whether chronic short wavelength light exposure exacerbates these changes require further study.
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    How ganglion cell responses to IOP elevation are impacted by blood pressure and intracranial pressure
    Bui, BV ; van Koeverden, A ; He, Z ; Vingrys, AJ ; Nguyen, CTO ; Zhao, D (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2019-07-01)
    Purpose : The extent to which blood pressure or intracranial pressure modifies ganglion cell responses to acute intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation incompletely understood. Using the electroretinogram (ERG) we measure ganglion cell mediated responses in rat retina, whilst acutely modifying IOP, BP and ICP in a systematic manner. We quantify the relationship between ganglion cell function and ocular perfusion pressure (BP - IOP) at low, normal and high ICP. Methods : Six groups of adult Long-Evans rats (n=7-11 eyes/group, total animals = 25) were anaesthetised (60:5mg/kg ketamine:xylazine) and underwent acute pressure modification. A femoral artery and vein were cannulated for blood pressure measurement and manipulation (sodium nitroprusside to lower and angiotensin II to elevate pressure). ICP was set to -5, 5 or 25 mmHg via a dual cannula (30G infusion needle inside a 23G measurement needle) placed into the lateral ventricle (-1.5mm from bregma, ±2mm from midline) on the ipsilateral side to the cannulated eye (30G, vitreal chamber). At each ICP (-5, 5 or 25 mmHg) and BP setting (normal or high), IOP was raised from 10 to 90 mmHg in 10 mmHg steps (3 min each). At each IOP level ganglion cell function was assessed using the scotopic threshold response (-5 log cd.s/m2, 20 repeats). Data were compared using one- and two-way ANOVA. Results : Average blood pressure at baseline was similar for the normal blood pressure groups (ICP-5 93±3; ICP5 99±5; ICP25 105±3mmHg, p=0.8). There was significant BP elevation in all the high blood pressure groups (ICP-5 160±3; ICP5 157±3; ICP25 157±5mmHg p<0.001). Compared with normal blood pressure groups (32.0±2.0μV), animals with high blood pressure (24.5±1.8μV) had significantly smaller baseline STR amplitudes (p<0.01). There was also a significant ICP effect (p<0.01), with larger baseline amplitudes in the 25mmHg ICP group (34.8±1.6μV) compared with normal (26.4±2.5μV) and low ICP groups (23.9±2.5μV). The ocular perfusion pressure (BP-IOP) relationship fully could not account for difference in ganglion cell function between ICP levels. Conclusions : Ganglion cell function is dependent on ocular perfusion pressure, excessive low or high perfusion attenuates function. Higher intracranial pressure appears to protect against acute ocular perfusion stress.
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    The effect of ageing on the recovery of retinal function and structure following intraocular pressure elevation in mice
    Lee, PY ; He, Z ; Wong, VHY ; Crowston, JG ; Bui, BV (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2019-07-01)
    Purpose : To investigate the effect of ageing on the capacity of the eye to cope with acute intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in mice Methods : IOP was elevated to 50 mmHg for 30 minutes in anaesthetised (ketamine/xylazine) 3- and 12-month old (3mo and 12mo) C57Bl/6 mice by infusing Hanks’ Balance Salt Solution through a glass micropipette (~50μm tip) inserted into the anterior chamber of one randomly selected eye. The contralateral eye served as an untreated control. Retinal function was assessed using electroretinogram to provide an index of the health of the major cell classes in the eye. Retinal structure was assessed using optical coherence tomography (OCT) which returns thickness for a range of retinal layers. Responses were collected one week prior to and at 3 (n=13 3mo, n=11 12mo), 7 (n=13 3mo, n=10 12mo), 14 (n=10 3mo, n=11 12mo) or 28 (n=11 3mo, n=11 12mo) days after IOP elevation. Responses in the high IOP eye were expressed relative (%) to their contralateral control eye (mean±SEM). As retinal ganglion cell (RGC) responses are influenced by input from the outer retina, we expressed the functional recovery of RGC as the % difference between relative RGC (output cells) and photoreceptor (input cells) function. The effect of age on RGC functional recovery and retinal structural changes at the various recovery time points was analysed using two-way ANOVA. Results : In 3-month old eyes, 3 days after IOP elevation, RGC function was -37.3±7.0% worse than expected from photoreceptoral input. By 7 days after IOP elevation, RGC responses were similar to photoreceptor responses (-5.7±7.2%) and remained so at 14 (-9.7±6.0%) and 28 (15.6±16.4%) days of recovery. In contrast, 12-month old eyes showed slower recovery. RGC responses were worse than expected from photoreceptoral responses at 3 (-58.1±6.1%) and 7 (-34.8±10.5%) days. Only at 14 (-9.4±10.0%) and 28 (1.9±13.1%) days had RGC responses returned to levels comparable with photoreceptoral responses in 12-month old eyes. Two-way ANOVA confirmed a significant age effect in the functional recovery (p<0.05). There was, however, no significant differences in retinal layers measured using OCT with age. Conclusions : RGC function was more affected by acute IOP elevation than photoreceptoral responses. Ageing slowed down the functional recovery of RGC following an acute IOP stressor but appears to have little effect on retinal structure.
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    Fractalkine-induced microglial vasoregulation occurs within the retina and is altered early in diabetic retinopathy
    Mills, SA ; Jobling, A ; Dixon, MA ; Bui, B ; Vessey, KA ; Phipps, JA ; Greferath, U ; Venables, G ; Wong, VHY ; Wong, CHY ; He, Z ; Hui, F ; Young, JC ; Tonc, J ; Ivanova, E ; Sagdullaev, BT ; Fletcher, EL (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2021-12-21)
    Local blood flow control within the central nervous system (CNS) is critical to proper function and is dependent on coordination between neurons, glia, and blood vessels. Macroglia, such as astrocytes and Müller cells, contribute to this neurovascular unit within the brain and retina, respectively. This study explored the role of microglia, the innate immune cell of the CNS, in retinal vasoregulation, and highlights changes during early diabetes. Structurally, microglia were found to contact retinal capillaries and neuronal synapses. In the brain and retinal explants, the addition of fractalkine, the sole ligand for monocyte receptor Cx3cr1, resulted in capillary constriction at regions of microglial contact. This vascular regulation was dependent on microglial Cx3cr1 involvement, since genetic and pharmacological inhibition of Cx3cr1 abolished fractalkine-induced constriction. Analysis of the microglial transcriptome identified several vasoactive genes, including angiotensinogen, a constituent of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Subsequent functional analysis showed that RAS blockade via candesartan abolished microglial-induced capillary constriction. Microglial regulation was explored in a rat streptozotocin (STZ) model of diabetic retinopathy. Retinal blood flow was reduced after 4 wk due to reduced capillary diameter and this was coincident with increased microglial association. Functional assessment showed loss of microglial-capillary response in STZ-treated animals and transcriptome analysis showed evidence of RAS pathway dysregulation in microglia. While candesartan treatment reversed capillary constriction in STZ-treated animals, blood flow remained decreased likely due to dilation of larger vessels. This work shows microglia actively participate in the neurovascular unit, with aberrant microglial-vascular function possibly contributing to the early vascular compromise during diabetic retinopathy.