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Automatic quantitative analysis of experimental primary and secondary retinal neurodegeneration: implications for optic neuropathies

Davis, BM; Guo, L; Brenton, J; Langley, L; Normando, EM; Cordeiro, MF; (2016) Automatic quantitative analysis of experimental primary and secondary retinal neurodegeneration: implications for optic neuropathies. Cell Death Discovery , 2 , Article 16031. 10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.31. Green open access

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Abstract

Secondary neurodegeneration is thought to play an important role in the pathology of neurodegenerative disease, which potential therapies may target. However, the quantitative assessment of the degree of secondary neurodegeneration is difficult. The present study describes a novel algorithm from which estimates of primary and secondary degeneration are computed using well-established rodent models of partial optic nerve transection (pONT) and ocular hypertension (OHT). Brn3-labelled retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were identified in whole-retinal mounts from which RGC density, nearest neighbour distances and regularity indices were determined. The spatial distribution and rate of RGC loss were assessed and the percentage of primary and secondary degeneration in each non-overlapping segment was calculated. Mean RGC number (82 592±681) and RGC density (1695±23.3 RGC/mm2) in naïve eyes were comparable with previous studies, with an average decline in RGC density of 71±17 and 23±5% over the time course of pONT and OHT models, respectively. Spatial analysis revealed greatest RGC loss in the superior and central retina in pONT, but significant RGC loss in the inferior retina from 3 days post model induction. In comparison, there was no significant difference between superior and inferior retina after OHT induction, and RGC loss occurred mainly along the superior/inferior axis (~30%) versus the nasal–temporal axis (~15%). Intriguingly, a significant loss of RGCs was also observed in contralateral eyes in experimental OHT. In conclusion, a novel algorithm to automatically segment Brn3a-labelled retinal whole-mounts into non-overlapping segments is described, which enables automated spatial and temporal segmentation of RGCs, revealing heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of primary and secondary degenerative processes. This method provides an attractive means to rapidly determine the efficacy of neuroprotective therapies with implications for any neurodegenerative disorder affecting the retina.

Type: Article
Title: Automatic quantitative analysis of experimental primary and secondary retinal neurodegeneration: implications for optic neuropathies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.31
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/cddiscovery.2016.31
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1508464
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