Defective angiogenesis and intraretinal bleeding in mouse models with disrupted inner retinal lamination

Aaron B. Simmons, Morgan M. Merrill, Justin C. Reed, Michael R. Deans, Malia M. Edwards, Peter G. Fuerst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Abnormal retinal angiogenesis leads to visual impairment and blindness. Understanding how retinal vessels develop normally has dramatically improved treatments for people with retinal vasculopathies, but additional information about development is required. Abnormal neuron patterning in the outer retina has been shown to result in abnormal vessel development and blindness, for example, in people and mouse models with Crumbs homologue 1 (CRB1) mutations. In this study, we report and characterize a mouse model of inner retinal lamination disruption and bleeding, the Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam) mutant, and test how neuron-neurite placement within the inner retina guides development of intraretinal vessels. METHODS. Bax mutant mice (increased neuron cell number), Dscam mutant mice (increased neuron cell number, disorganized lamination), Fat3 mutant mice (disorganized neuron lamination), and Dscam gain-of-function mice (DscamGOF) (decreased neuron cell number) were used to manipulate neuron placement and number. Immunohistochemistry was used to assay organization of blood vessels, glia, and neurons. In situ hybridization was used to map the expression of angiogenic factors. RESULTS. Significant changes in the organization of vessels within mutant retinas were found. Displaced neurons and microglia were associated with the attraction of vessels. Using Fat3 mutant and DscamGOF retinas, we provide experimental evidence that vessel branching is induced at the neuron-neurite interface, but that other factors are required for full plexus layer formation. We further demonstrate that the displacement of neurons results in the mislocalization of angiogenic factors. CONCLUSIONS. Inner retina neuron lamination is required for development of intraretinal vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1577
Number of pages15
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Astrocytes
  • Microglia
  • Müller glia
  • Neovascularization
  • Retinal vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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