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Curr Eye Res. 1999 Jan;18(1):20-7.

Diltiazem reduces retinal neovascularization in a mouse model of oxygen induced retinopathy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.



To assess the effect of diltiazem, a calcium channel blocking agent, on oxygen induced retinopathy (OIR) in a mouse model using neovascular nuclei quantitation and a quantitative scoring system based on examining fluorescein perfused retinal whole mount preparations.


The mouse model of oxygen induced retinopathy consisting of a 5 day exposure to 75% oxygen from postnatal day 7 to 12 was used to produce retinal neovascularization. Fluorescein conjugated dextran angiography of retinal vasculature was performed and retinal whole mounts were prepared to score features of retinopathy. The parameters that were scored in a masked fashion included blood vessel growth, blood vessel tuft formation, extra retinal neovascularization, degree of central vasoconstriction, retinal hemorrhage, and tortuosity of vessels. Diltiazem (0.05-0.5 mg/kg/day subcutaneously for five days) was administered to mice pups during exposure to oxygen to determine if calcium channel blockade altered retinopathy. In addition, quantification of retinal neovascular nuclei was performed in a masked fashion with periodic acid Schiff (PAS) staining of frozen eye sections.


Animals that were exposed to hyperoxia for five days had a median (25th, 75th quartile) retinopathy score of 9 (8,11) versus control animals that had a retinopathy score of 1 (0,1) with p<0.001. Subscores for blood vessel growth, blood vessel tufts, extra-retinal neovascularization, central vasoconstriction, hemorrhage, and blood vessel tortuosity were all significantly different between control and treated animals. In addition, quantification of neovascular nuclei showed a significant increase in the number of nuclei extending beyond the inner limiting membrane into the vitreous in hyperoxic treated animals. Diltiazem at doses of 0.2 and 0.5 mg/kg/day improved the retinopathy as measured by the total retinopathy score [5 (4,6) and 4 (3.75,5.25), respectively]. The average number of extraretinal neovascular nuclei per retinal section (mean +/-standard deviation) was significantly decreased by diltiazem at doses of 0.2 and 0.5 mg/kg/day (31.4+/-18.8 and 20.9+/-6.9, respectively) when compared to hyperoxic treated animals (56.1+/-21.5).


Diltiazem reduces oxygen induced retinopathy in the mouse as measured by a scoring system based on a retinal whole mount method of retinal neovascularization and by quantification of extra retinal neovascular nuclei.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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