Using Optical Coherence Tomography and Optokinetic Response As Structural and Functional Visual System Readouts in Mice and Rats

J Vis Exp. 2019 Jan 10;(143). doi: 10.3791/58571.


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a fast, non-invasive, interferometric technique allowing high-resolution retinal imaging. It is an ideal tool for the investigation of processes of neurodegeneration, neuroprotection and neuro-repair involving the visual system, as these often correlate well with retinal changes. As a functional readout, visually evoked compensatory eye and head movements are commonly used in experimental models involving the visual function. Combining both techniques allows a quantitative in vivo investigation of structure and function, which can be used to investigate the pathological conditions or to evaluate the potential of novel therapeutics. A great benefit of the presented techniques is the possibility to perform longitudinal analyses allowing the investigation of dynamic processes, reducing variability and cuts down the number of animals needed for the experiments. The protocol described aims to provide a manual for acquisition and analysis of high quality retinal scans of mice and rats using a low cost customized holder with an option to deliver inhalational anesthesia. Additionally, the proposed guide is intended as an instructional manual for researchers using optokinetic response (OKR) analysis in rodents, which can be adapted to their specific needs and interests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / diagnostic imaging
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein / metabolism
  • Optics and Photonics*
  • Rats
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*


  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein