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A Laser-induced Mouse Model of Chronic Ocular Hypertension to Characterize Visual Defects

Published: August 14th, 2013



1Department of Ophthalmology, Northwestern University, 2Department of Neurobiology, Northwestern University

Chronic ocular hypertension is induced using laser photocoagulation of the trabecular meshwork in mouse eyes. The intraocular pressure (IOP) is elevated for several months after laser treatment. The decrease of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity of experimental animals are monitored using the optomotor test.

Glaucoma, frequently associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), is one of the leading causes of blindness. We sought to establish a mouse model of ocular hypertension to mimic human high-tension glaucoma. Here laser illumination is applied to the corneal limbus to photocoagulate the aqueous outflow, inducing angle closure. The changes of IOP are monitored using a rebound tonometer before and after the laser treatment. An optomotor behavioral test is used to measure corresponding changes in visual capacity. The representative result from one mouse which developed sustained IOP elevation after laser illumination is shown. A decreased visual acuity and contrast sensitivity is observed in this ocular hypertensive mouse. Together, our study introduces a valuable model system to investigate neuronal degeneration and the underlying molecular mechanisms in glaucomatous mice.


C57BL/6J mice (Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME) are raised at Northwestern University's Animal Care Facility. All animals are used in accordance with protocols approved by Northwestern University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and conformed to the guidelines on the Use of Animals in Neuroscience Research from the NIH.

1. Laser Photocoagulation

The procedure of laser photocoagulation is modified from previously publis.......

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As described in the Procedures, laser illumination is aimed at the trabecular meshwork in the limbal region to photocoagulate the aqueous outflow, inducing angle closure (Figure 1). Most lasered eyes exhibited no significant physical damage, pigment detachment or infection, consistent with previous findings 6. When a small group of mice (less than 5% of all lasered animals) exhibited physical signs of severe damage such as deflated eye balls, severe cataract, significant pigment detachment, or.......

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We report above that sustained ocular hypertension can be induced by laser illumination in mouse eyes. Compared to the saline injection model 18 and the vein cautery model 11 both of which require extensive microsurgical skills, the laser illumination is relatively simple and easy to perform. Usually we can perform the laser illumination for 4-6 mice in 2-3 hr. The critical steps to achieve sustained IOP elevation are the anterior chamber flattening before laser and the parameters for laser illumina.......

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The work contained in this paper has been supported by the Dr. Douglas H. Johnson Award for Glaucoma Research from the American Health Assistance Foundation (XL), the William & Mary Greve Special Scholar Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness (XL), the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness (HC) and NIH grant R01EY019034 (XL).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
moxifloxacin Alcon Labs, Inc. NDC 0065-4013-03 0.5 %, Rx only
Proparacaine Hydrochloride Bausch & Lomb NDC 24208-730-06 0.5 %, Rx only
Ophthalmic Solution USP Bausch & Lomb NDC 24208-730-06 .5 %, Rx only
ketamine Butler Schein Animal Health NDC 11695-0550-1 100 mg / kg
xylazine LLOYD Inc. of Iowa NADA 139-236 10 mg / kg
atropine sulfate solution Alcon Labs, Inc. NDC 61314-303-02 1 %, Rx only
Slit Lamp, TOPCON Visual Systems Inc SL-3E powered by PS-30A
OptoMotry 1.8.0 virtual CerebralMechanics Inc.
opto-kinetic testing system CerebralMechanics Inc.
Tonometer, TonoLab, for mice Colonial Medical Supply
Heating pad Sunbeam Products Inc 722-810
Argon laser Coherent Inc Ultima 2000SE
DECAPICONE Plastic cone holder Braintree Sci Inc. MDC-200 for mouse

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