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Biochemistry - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Ophthalmology

A Novel High-Content Flow Cytometric Method for Assessing the Viability and Damage of Rat Retinal Ganglion Cells
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012
Author: Zhi-Yang Chang et al.

by Zhi-Yang Chang, Da-Wen Lu, Ming-Kung Yeh, Chiao-Hsi Chiang


The aim of the study was to develop a high-content flow cytometric method for assessing the viability and damage of small, medium, and large retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)-injury model.


Retinal toxicity was induced in rats by intravitreal injection of NMDA and RGCs were retrogradely labeled with Fluoro-Gold (FG). Seven days post-NMDA injection, flatmount and flow cytometric methods were used to evaluate RGCs. In addition, the RGC area diameter (D(a)) obtained from retinal flatmount imaging were plotted versus apparent volume diameter (D(v)) obtained from flow cytometry for the same cumulative cell number (sequentially from small to large RGCs) percentile (Q) to establish their relationship for accurately determining RGC sizes. Good correlation (r?=?0.9718) was found between D(a) and apparent D(v). Both flatmount and flow cytometric analyses of RGCs showed that 40 mM NMDA significantly reduced the numbers of small and medium RGCs but not large RGCs. Additionally, flow cytometry showed that the geometric means of FG and thy-1 intensities in three types of RGCs decreased to 90.96±2.24% (P<0.05) and 91.78±1.89% (P>0.05) for small, 69.62±2.11% (P<0.01) and 69.07±2.98% (P<0.01) for medium, and 69.68±6.48% (P<0.05) and 69.91±6.23% (P<0.05) for large as compared with the normal RGCs.


The established flow cytometric method provides high-content analysis for differential evaluation of RGC number and status and should be useful for the evaluation of various models of optic nerve injury and the effects of potential neuroprotective agents.