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J Vis Exp. 2013 Jun 13;(76):e50489. doi: 10.3791/50489.

Trypsin digest protocol to analyze the retinal vasculature of a mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Abstract

Trypsin digest is the gold standard method to analyze the retinal vasculature (1-5). It allows visualization of the entire network of complex three-dimensional retinal blood vessels and capillaries by creating a two-dimensional flat-mount of the interconnected vascular channels after digestion of the non-vascular components of the retina. This allows one to study various pathologic vascular changes, such as microaneurysms, capillary degeneration, and abnormal endothelial to pericyte ratios. However, the method is technically challenging, especially in mice, which have become the most widely available animal model to study the retina because of the ease of genetic manipulations (6,7). In the mouse eye, it is particularly difficult to completely remove the non-vascular components while maintaining the overall architecture of the retinal blood vessels. To date, there is a dearth of literature that describes the trypsin digest technique in detail in the mouse. This manuscript provides a detailed step-by-step methodology of the trypsin digest in mouse retina, while also providing tips on troubleshooting difficult steps.

PMID:
23793268
PMCID:
PMC3913093
DOI:
10.3791/50489
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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