Time course of collateral vessel formation after retinal vein occlusion visualized by OCTA and elucidation of factors in their formation

Heliyon. 2021 Jan 5;7(1):e05902. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e05902. eCollection 2021 Jan.


Background: It is clinically recognized that collateral vessels can form after retinal vein occlusion (RVO) in some cases and these vessels can lead to spontaneous recovery of the pathological condition. In recent years, optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) has become a decisive clinical instrument. Unlike previous angiography tests, OCTA enables the non-invasive visualization of fundus vasculature without the need for administration of a contrast agent. However, it remains to be determined if OCTA depicts the 'true' histological status as several studies have reported artifacts in OCTA imaging.

Methods: We generated a laser-induced mouse RVO model, and evaluated the subsequent formation of collateral vessels in order to understand the mechanisms by which collateral vessels form using OCTA imaging, as well as molecular and histological assessments.

Results: We succeeded in visualizing the time course of collateral vessel formation in a mouse RVO model and confirmed the similarity in formation of collateral vessels only within the deep layer of the retina in both human and mouse. We hypothesized that sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1PR1) may play important roles via vascular shear stress linking vein occlusion and collateral vessel formation. Results from OCTA revealed that collateral vessels are increased in response to administration of a S1PR1 agonist in a mouse RVO model. Based on quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), S1PR1 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels in the whole retina peaked 6 h after photocoagulation in this model. Immunohistochemical staining of retinal flat mounts revealed that S1PR1 staining occurred along the laser-occluded blood vessels.

Conclusion: We observed the temporal process of collateral vessel formation in a mouse RVO model and identified the relationship between S1PR1 and shear stress as one of the factors in collateral vessel formation in RVO.

Keywords: Collateral vessels; OCTA; RVO.