The anatomy of the rat eye with oxygen-induced retinopathy

Doc Ophthalmol. 2010 Feb;120(1):41-50. doi: 10.1007/s10633-009-9198-1. Epub 2009 Oct 10.


Prior studies have documented the intertwined developmental courses of retinal blood vessel tortuosity (in fundus photographs) and retinal dysfunction (in electroretinographs) in Sprague-Dawley rat models of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Two such models, the "50/10 model" and the "75 model," are named after the oxygen regimens used to induce retinopathy and are characterized by distinct neurovascular courses that span a range of disease severity. In this study of 50/10 and 75 model rats, retinal flatmounts were used to study the full vasculature at postnatal day (P) 15, P19 and P30. In addition, the layers of the neural retina were measured in toluidine blue-stained cross sections. Finally, gross anatomic features of the eye, including axial length, retinal surface area, and the ratio of anterior to posterior axial-lengths were evaluated. Both clock hours of neovascularization (NV) and percent avascular retina (AR) peaked at P19 and resolved by P30. Through P19, NV was found in every 50/10 model rat, but in only 60% of 75 model rats. AR was positively related to NV. All inner layers of the retina (outer plexiform layer through ganglion cell layer) were attenuated in 50/10 model rats but, in the 75 model, no layer differed significantly from that in controls. The eyes in both ROP models were smaller than those of age-matched controls. The ratio of anterior to posterior axial-lengths ranged from 0.45 in controls through 0.37 in the 75 model to 0.32 in the 50/10 model. Thus, eye growth is altered in these rat models of ROP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxygen / toxicity*
  • Rats
  • Retinal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Retinal Neovascularization / pathology*
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / etiology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / pathology*


  • Oxygen