This paper aims to identify key biological processes triggered by resection surgery in the extraocular muscles (EOMs) of a rabbit model of strabismus surgery by studying changes in gene expression. Resection surgery was performed in the superior rectus of 16 rabbits and a group of non-operated rabbits served as control. Muscle samples were collected from groups of four animals 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks after surgery and processed for RNA-sequencing and immunohistochemistry. We identified a total of 164; 136; 64 and 12 differentially expressed genes 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks after surgery. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis revealed that differentially expressed genes were involved in biological pathways related to metabolism, response to stimulus mainly related with regulation of immune response, cell cycle and extracellular matrix. A complementary pathway analysis and network analysis performed with Ingenuity Pathway Analysis tool corroborated and completed these findings. Collagen I, fibronectin and versican, evaluated by immunofluorescence, showed that changes at the gene expression level resulted in variation at the protein level. Tenascin-C staining in resected muscles demonstrated the formation of new tendon and myotendinous junctions. These data provide new insights about the biological response of the EOMs to resection surgery and may form the basis for future strategies to improve the outcome of strabismus surgery.
Keywords: Extraocular muscles; Gene expression; Resection surgery; Strabismus.
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