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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Apr 6;52(5):2250-4. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6311.

Optic nerve crush mice followed longitudinally with spectral domain optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1UPMC Eye Center, Eye and Ear Institute, Ophthalmology and Visual Science Research Center, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



To investigate the longitudinal effect of optic nerve crush injury in mice by measuring retinal thickness with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).


Optic nerves of one eye from each C57Bl/6 mouse were crushed under direct visualization for 3 seconds, 1 mm posterior to the globe. The optic nerve head (ONH) was imaged with SD-OCT (1.5 × 1.5 × 2.0 mm scan) before the surgical intervention and repeated subsequently for up to 32 days postinjury. A cohort of mice not exposed to the nerve crush procedure served as control. En face SD-OCT images were used to manually align subsequent scans to the baseline en face image. Total retinal thickness (TRT) (along a sampling band with radii 0.33-0.42 mm centered on the ONH) from each follow-up day was automatically quantified for global and sectoral measurements using custom software. Linear mixed-effects models with quadratic terms were fitted to compare TRT of nerve-crushed and control eyes over time.


Eleven eyes from 11 nerve crush mice (baseline age 76 ± 11.8 days) and eight eyes from four healthy mice (baseline age 64 ± 0 days) were included. The control eyes showed a small, gradual, and consistent TRT increase throughout follow-up. Nerve-crushed eyes showed an initial period of thickening, followed by thinning and slight rebound after day 21. The decrease in thickness observed after the early thickening resolved was statistically significantly different from the control eyes (P < 0.05 for global and sectoral measurements).


SD-OCT can be used to quantitatively monitor changes in retinal thickness in mice over time.

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