Purpose: To establish an animal model of congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) using Slc4a11 knockout (KO) mice and evaluate the abnormalities in the cornea and kidney.
Methods: The Slc4a11 KO mouse model was generated by gene deletion. Corneal abnormalities were evaluated using slit-lamp photography, anterior segment optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT), immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR, corneal endothelial cell staining, and electron microscopy. The temporal corneal changes were also monitored. Histological and functional changes of the kidney were also evaluated.
Results: Successful knockout of the Slc4a11 gene was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR. Slit-lamp photography and AS-OCT showed progressive corneal edema. Increased corneal endothelial cell size with decreased corneal endothelial cell density was observed with increased age. Scanning electron microscopy also revealed progressive cell swelling and distortion of the hexagonal cell morphology with time. Transmission electron microscopy showed characteristic ultrastructural findings of CHED, including endothelial vacuolization, thickening of the Descemet membrane, disorganization of collagen fibril, deposition of amorphous material, and progression of these changes with age. Decreased urine osmolarity and electrolyte concentrations suggesting abnormality in water resorption were also detected.
Conclusions: Our Slc4a11 KO mouse model successfully represents clinical manifestations of human CHED. We were able to show chronological corneal progression for the first time in a knockout mouse model as well as renal abnormalities.
Keywords: Slc4a11; animal model; congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy; corneal endothelial dystrophy.