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Establishment of a retinal hypoxia organ culture model.

Establishment of a retinal hypoxia organ culture model.
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Schnichels S, Blak M, Hurst J, Dorfi T, Bartz-Schmidt KU, Ziemssen F, Spitzer MS, Schultheiss M,


Schnichels S, Blak M, Hurst J, Dorfi T, Bartz-Schmidt KU, Ziemssen F, Spitzer MS, Schultheiss M, (click to view)

Schnichels S, Blak M, Hurst J, Dorfi T, Bartz-Schmidt KU, Ziemssen F, Spitzer MS, Schultheiss M,

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Biology open 2017 07 156(7) 1056-1064 doi 10.1242/bio.025429
Abstract

Hypoxia plays an important role in several retinal diseases, especially in central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO). Although CRAO has been known for over a hundred years, no cure or sufficient treatment is available. Potential therapies are being evaluated in several in vivo models or primary cultures. However, in vivo models or primary cultures are very time-consuming, expensive, and furthermore several therapies or agents cannot be tested. Therefore, we aimed to develop a standardized organotypic ex vivo retinal hypoxia model. A chamber was developed in which rat retinal explants were incubated for different hypoxia durations. Afterwards, the retinas were adjusted to normal air and incubated for 24, 48 or 72 h under standard conditions. To analyze the retinal explants, and in particular the retinal ganglion cells (RGC) immunohistology, western blot and optical coherence tomography (OCT) measurements were performed. To compare our model to a standardized degeneration model, additional retinal explants were treated with 0.5 and 1 mM glutamate. Depending on hypoxia duration and incubation time, the amount of RGCs decreased and accordingly, the amount of TUNEL-positive RGCs increased. Furthermore, β-III-tubulin expression and retinal thickness significantly decreased with longer-lasting hypoxia. The reduction of RGCs induced by 75 min of hypoxia was comparable to the one of 1 mM glutamate treatment after 24 h (20.27% versus 19.69%) and 48 h (13.41% versus 14.41%) of incubation. We successfully established a cheap, standardized, easy-to-use organotypic culture model for retinal hypoxia. We selected 75 min of hypoxia for further studies, as approximately 50% of the RGC died compared to the control group after 48 h.

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