Morphological and Doppler UHR-OCT Imaging of Retinal Degeneration Induced by Sodium Iodate Toxicity in a Rat Model
Tam, Man Chun Alan
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A high speed, high resolution spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) system was used to study in-vivo early morphological changes and optical nerve head (ONH) blood flow in the Long Evans rat retina, induced by administration of sodium iodate (NaIO3). Linear and circular scanned OCT images were acquired at the same location in the retina from healthy control rats and from rats injected with 40mg/kg of NaIO3 solution at 1, 3, 6 12, 24, 72 and 168 hours post drug administration. Morphological OCT images showed changes in the optical reflectance and layer thickness of the photoreceptor IS and OS. The formation of a new low reflective layer between the photoreceptor OS and the RPE was observed in all tested rats. This new layer appeared as early as 1 hour, increased in thickness after 6 hours, and disappeared by 12 hours post NaIO3 injection. The low optical reflectance and the dynamics of this new layer suggest that it was most likely fluid accumulation. Comparison with H&E stained histological sections and IgG immunohistochemistry revealed minimal photoreceptor OS cell swelling at hour 1, detachment of the OS from the RPE by hour 3, and breaking of the blood-retina barrier with significant fluid accumulation by hour 6 post NaIO3 injection. The Doppler Optical Micro-Angiography (DOMAG) algorithm was used to carry out quantitative analysis of the ONH blood flow. Estimation of flow rate on each ONH vessel was done by measurements of the Doppler angle, vessel size and the axial velocity. This study has demonstrated that the capability of UHR-OCT to study optical reflectance and layer thickness changes, rearrangement and detachment of the photoreceptor OS and RPE layers, together with flow rate estimation of retinal blood vessels. Therefore, it can serve as markers in future non-invasive, in-vivo studies of disease or drug induced retinal degeneration in ophthalmic research.