Investigation of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization in the rat

Irina Semkova, Swaantje Peters, Gerhard Welsandt, Hanna Janicki, Jens Jordan, Ulrich Schraermeyer


PURPOSE: Choroidal neovascularization plays an important role in pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration. Induction of neovascularization by laser photocoagulation in the rat fundus is an established animal model in which the effects of new therapeutic approaches are assessed. The purpose of this study was to compare different detection methods of laser-induced neovascularization in the rat.

METHODS: Laser spots were applied to the fundus of Long-Evans rats. Ten days after, four different methods were used to detect laser-induced neovascularization: (1) high-resolution angiography with fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran, (2) immunohistochemical visualization of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1, (3) visualization of intravascular lumens by peroxidase perfusion in the living rat with subsequent histologic analysis, and (4) histochemical representation of alkaline phosphatase in endothelial cells.

RESULTS: At the rim of the laser scars vessel-forming endothelial cells with intravasal dextran and peroxidase were present. Cross-sections demonstrated that these vessels originated from the retina. The center of the scars contained homogenous endothelial cells of choroidal origin, which was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. In laser-treated eyes without FITC-dextran perfusion, scars showed unspecific fluorescence, making differentiation from specific FITC-dextran-associated fluorescence difficult.

CONCLUSIONS: In the rat model of laser-induced neovascularization, newly developed endothelial cells originate from the retina and the choroid. Whereas ring-like surrounding vessels come from the retina, flat endothelial cells in deeper layers are of choroidal origin or may originate from circulating endothelial precursor cells. Dextran angiography has to be regarded critically for visualizing the choriocapillaris and CNV in laser scars. PECAM-1 immunohistochemistry is best for detection and quantification of neovascularization in laser scars.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)5349-54
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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