The main drawbacks of currently described pressure induced glaucoma animal models are, that intraocular pressure (IOP) either rises slowly, leading to a heterogeneous onset of glaucoma in the treated animals or that IOP normalizes before significant damage occurs, necessitating re-treatment. Furthermore, a variable magnitude of IOP increase often results when particles are introduced into the anterior chamber. In order to develop a simple and reproducible rat glaucoma model with sustained IOP elevation after a single treatment we induced occlusion of the chamber angle by anterior chamber paracentesis and subsequent laser coagulation of the limbal area with 35, 40 or 45 laser burns. Right eyes served as controls. IOP was measured three times weekly using TonoLab rebound tonometry in awake animals. After four weeks, retinal tissue was harvested and processed for whole mount preparation. The number of prelabeled, fluorogold-positive retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) was analyzed under a fluorescence microscope. The eyes were further analyzed histologically. Results are expressed as means and standard deviation. Amplitude and duration of the IOP elevation increased with the number of laser burns. Two weeks after 35, 40 or 45 translimbal laser burns the IOP difference between treated and control eye was 7.5 ± 5, 14 ± 8 or 19 ± 9 mmHg, respectively; the RGC density/mm(2) 28 days after treatment was 1488 ± 238 for control eyes (n = 31) and 1514 ± 287 (n = 10), 955 ± 378 (n = 10) or 447 ± 350 (n = 11) for the respective laser groups. Mean IOP of all control eyes over the observation period was 12.4 ± 0.8 mmHg. The chamber angle showed pigment accumulation in the trabecular meshwork of all laser groups and confluent peripheral anterior synechia after 40 and 45 laser burns. Histologic examination of the retina revealed increasing glia activation in a pressure dependant manner. In this study, >91% of laser treated rats developed secondary glaucoma with sustained IOP elevation for at least 2 weeks. The amount of IOP elevation and RGC loss correspond with the number of laser burns applied. This relatively high success rate after a single procedure may constitutes an advantage over established glaucoma models, as this decreases the risk of complications (e.g. corneal decompensation, intraocular bleeding or inflammation) and, thus, improves the outcome.
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