The purpose of this research was to study the effects of age and genetic alterations in key connective tissue proteins on susceptibility to experimental glaucoma in mice. We used mice haploinsufficient in the elastin gene (EH) and mice without both alleles of the fibromodulin gene (FM KO) and their wild type (WT) littermates of B6 and CD1 strains, respectively. FM KO mice were tested at two ages: 2 months and 12 months. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured by Tonolab tonometer, axial lengths and widths measured by digital caliper post-enucleation, and chronic glaucoma damage was measured using a bead injection model and optic nerve axon counts. IOP in EH mice was not significantly different from WT, but FM KO were slightly lower than their controls (p = 0.04). Loss of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons was somewhat, but not significantly greater in young EH and younger or older FM KO strains than in age-matched controls (p = 0.48, 0.34, 0.20, respectively, multivariable regression adjusting for IOP exposure). Older CD1 mice lost significantly more RGC axons than younger CD1 (p = 0.01, multivariable regression). The CD1 mouse strain showed age-dependence of experimental glaucoma damage to RGC in the opposite, and more expected, direction than in B6 mice in which older mice are more resistant to damage. Genetic alteration in two genes that are constituents of sclera, fibromodulin and elastin do not significantly affect RGC loss.
Keywords: biomechanics; elastin; experimental model; fibromodulin; glaucoma; mouse; retinal ganglion cell; sclera.
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