Optic nerve crush modulates refractive development of the C57BL/6 mouse by changing multiple ocular dimensions

Brain Res. 2020 Jan 1;1726:146537. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2019.146537. Epub 2019 Oct 28.


Higher visual centers could modulate visually-guided ocular growth, in addition to local mechanisms intrinsic to the eye. There is evidence that such central modulations could be species (even subspecies)-dependent. While the mouse has recently become an important experimental animal in myopia studies, it remains unclear whether and how visual centers modulate refractive development in mice, an issue that was examined in the present study. We found that optic nerve crush (ONC), performed at P18, could modify normal refractive development in the C57BL/6 mouse raised in normal visual environment. Unexpectedly, sham surgery caused a steeper cornea, leading to a modest myopic refractive shift, but did not induce significant changes in ocular axis length. ONC caused corneal flattening and re-calibrated the refractive set-point in a bidirectional manner, causing significant myopic (<-3 D, 54.5%) or hyperopic (>+3 D, 18.2%) shifts in refractive error in most (totally 72.7%) animals, both due to changes in ocular axial length. ONC did not change the density of dopaminergic amacrine cells, but increased retinal levels of dopamine and DOPAC. We conclude that higher visual centers are likely to play a role in fine-tuning of ocular growth, thus modifying refractive development in the C57BL/6 mouse. The changes in refractive error induced by ONC are accounted for by alternations in multiple ocular dimensions, including corneal curvature and axial length.

Keywords: Dopamine; Mouse; Myopia; Optic nerve crush; Refractive development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Amacrine Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cornea / growth & development
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myopia / metabolism
  • Myopia / pathology
  • Myopia / physiopathology*
  • Nerve Crush
  • Optic Nerve / growth & development*
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / pathology
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development*
  • Visual Pathways / metabolism


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine