Ultrastructural pathology is critical in the morphologic evaluation and characterization of subcellular structures in nonclinical toxicity and efficacy studies. In murine models of ophthalmologic disease, clinical examination is typically paired with other techniques like electroretinography (ERG) and/or optical coherence tomography (OCT) to more fully characterize a finding. High-quality transmission electron microscopy (TEM) can provide a critical, image-based link between these approaches, providing greater confidence in interpretation of ERG or OCT results. In addition to characterization of disease models, TEM can provide detailed visualization of retinal changes identified by clinical examination or light microscopy in nonclinical toxicity studies. The spherical shape of the eye presents unique challenges for trimming, orientation, imaging, and evaluation by TEM. The varied components of the eye require specialized approaches for embedding to facilitate successful sectioning. Controlling for the orientation of the retina is critical to consistent evaluation, driving the need for an improved method of embedding this unique and complex organ. The authors describe a method of sample preparation resulting in optimal orientation of the posterior aspect of murine eyes (rat and mouse) for TEM of the neural retina, Bruch's membrane and/or choroid, with examples from mouse ophthalmic disease models.
Keywords: advanced histology techniques; mouse models of disease; resin embedding; retina; transmission electron microscopy; ultrastructural pathology.