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Neuroscience - Physiology - Surgery

A Novel Animal Model of Partial Optic Nerve Transection Established Using an Optic Nerve Quantitative Amputator
Published: Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Author: Xu Wang et al.

by Xu Wang, Ying Li, Yan He, Hong-Sheng Liang, En-Zhong Liu


Research into retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration and neuroprotection after optic nerve injury has received considerable attention and the establishment of simple and effective animal models is of critical importance for future progress.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In the present study, the optic nerves of Wistar rats were semi-transected selectively with a novel optic nerve quantitative amputator. The variation in RGC density was observed with retro-labeled fluorogold at different time points after nerve injury. The densities of surviving RGCs in the experimental eyes at different time points were 1113.69±188.83 RGC/mm2 (the survival rate was 63.81% compared with the contralateral eye of the same animal) 1 week post surgery; 748.22±134.75 /mm2 (46.16% survival rate) 2 weeks post surgery; 505.03±118.67 /mm2 (30.52% survival rate) 4 weeks post surgery; 436.86±76.36 /mm2 (24.01% survival rate) 8 weeks post surgery; and 378.20±66.74 /mm2 (20.30% survival rate) 12 weeks post surgery. Simultaneously, we also measured the axonal distribution of optic nerve fibers; the latency and amplitude of pattern visual evoke potentials (P-VEP); and the variation in pupil diameter response to pupillary light reflex. All of these observations and profiles were consistent with post injury variation characteristics of the optic nerve. These results indicate that we effectively simulated the pathological process of primary and secondary injury after optic nerve injury.


The present quantitative transection optic nerve injury model has increased reproducibility, effectiveness and uniformity. This model is an ideal animal model to provide a foundation for researching new treatments for nerve repair after optic nerve and/or central nerve injury.