Most animal models of glaucoma rely on induction of ocular hypertension (OHT), yet such models can suffer from high IOPs leading to undesirable retinal ischemia. Thus, animals with IOPs exceeding a threshold (e.g. > 60 mmHg) are often excluded from studies. However, due to the intermittent nature of IOP measurements, this approach may fail to detect ischemia. Conversely, it may also inappropriately eliminate animals with IOP spikes that do not induce ischemic damage. It is known that acute ischemia selectively impairs inner retinal function, which results in a reduced b-wave amplitude. Here, we explore the potential of using electroretinography (ERG) to detect ischemic damage in OHT eyes. 74 Brown Norway rats received a unilateral injection of magnetic microbeads to induce OHT, while contralateral eyes served as controls. IOP was measured every 2-3 days for 14 days after microbead injection. Retinal function was evaluated using dark-adapted bright flash ERG (2.1 log cd•s/m) prior to, and at 7 and 14 days after, injection. We investigated two criteria for excluding animals: (IOP Criterion) a single IOP measurement > 60 mmHg; or (ERG Criterion) a b-wave amplitude below the 99.5% confidence interval for naïve eyes. 49 of 74 rats passed both criteria, 7 of 74 failed both, and 18 passed one criterion but not the other. We suggest that ERG testing can detect unwelcome ischemic damage in animal models of OHT. Since brief IOP spikes do not necessarily lead to ischemic retinal damage, and because extended periods of elevated IOP can be missed, such ERG-based criteria may provide more objective and robust exclusion criteria in future glaucoma studies.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.