Optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings in normal retina and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization in rats

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Background: To evaluate the optical coherence tomographic (OCT) features of the retina of rats, we compared the OCT images with the histological appearance of normal retinas and retinas with laser- induced choroidal neovascularization. Methods: Twelve eyes of 12 adult pigmented rats (Brown-Norway) were used. Color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography (FAG), and OCT images of normal retinas and retinas with laser photocoagulation-induced choroidal neovascularization were studied. Results: OCT showed a double-layered structure in the normal sensory retina with a highly reflective layer located in the inner retina and a low reflective layer located in the outer retina. The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and choriocapillaris were imaged as a layer with the highest reflection. On the first day after photocoagulation, OCT showed a disruption of the highly reflective layer corresponding to the RPE, and an enhanced reflectivity in the choroid under the lesion. Choroidal neovascularizations (CNVs) which appeared 2 weeks after photocoagulation was seen as a multi-layered, highly reflective area protruding from the RPE into the subretinal space A CNV beneath a subretinal hematoma was difficult to detect because of the low transmission of the scanning light through the hematoma. The histopathological appearance was well correlated with the OCT images. Conclusion: The two reflective bands in the OCT images were identified as coming from the inner layers of the retina and from the photoreceptors. The highest reflective band arose from the RPE and choriocapillaris. In the future, OCT combined with FAG or indo-cyanine-green angiography will be a useful tool for the evaluation of animal studies of choroidal neovascularization and other retinal diseases.

Received: 18 April 2000 Revised: 30 June 2000 Accepted: 7 July 2000