Oxygen-induced retinopathy in the mouse is the standard experimental model of retinopathy of prematurity. Assessment of the pathology involves in vitro analysis of retinal vaso-obliteration and retinal neovascularization. The authors studied the clinical features of oxygen-induced retinopathy in vivo using topical endoscopy fundus imaging (TEFI), in comparison to standard investigations, and evaluated a system for grading these features.
Postnatal day (P)7 mice were exposed to 75% oxygen for five days to induce retinopathy or maintained in room air as controls. Retinal vascular competence was graded against standard photographs by three masked graders. Retinal photographs were obtained at predetermined ages using TEFI. Postmortem, retinal vaso-obliteration was measured in whole mounts with labeled vasculature, and retinal neovascularization was quantified in hematoxylin- and eosin-stained ocular cross sections.
Fundus photography by TEFI was possible from P15, when retinal vascular incompetence, including dilatation and tortuosity, was significant in mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy in comparison to controls. Vascular incompetence peaked in severity at P17 and persisted through P25. Comparison with in vitro analyses indicated that vascular changes were most severe after retinal avascularity had begun to decrease in area, and coincident with the maximum of retinal neovascularization. A weighted Fleiss-Cohen kappa indicated good intra- and interobserver agreement for a 5-point grading system.
Topical endoscopy fundus imaging demonstrates retinal vascular incompetence in mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy. The technique complements standard postmortem analysis for following the course of the model.
Topical endoscopy fundus imaging has application in the evaluation of novel biologic drugs for retinopathy of prematurity.