Experimental scleral cross-linking increases glaucoma damage in a mouse model

Elizabeth C. Kimball, Cathy Nguyen, Matthew R. Steinhart, Thao D. Nguyen, Mary E. Pease, Ericka N. Oglesby, Brian C. Oveson, Harry A. Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of a scleral cross-linking agent on susceptibility to glaucoma damage in a mouse model.CD1 mice underwent 3 subconjunctival injections of 0.5M glyceraldehyde (GA) in 1 week, then had elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) induced by bead injection. Degree of cross-linking was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), scleral permeability was measured by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), and the mechanical effects of GA exposure were measured by inflation testing. Control mice had buffer injection or no injection in 2 separate glaucoma experiments. IOP was monitored by Tonolab and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss was measured by histological axon counting. To rule out undesirable effects of GA, we performed electroretinography and detailed histology of the retina. GA exposure had no detectable effects on RGC number, retinal structure or function either histologically or electrophysiologically. GA increased cross-linking of sclera by 37% in an ELISA assay, decreased scleral permeability (FRAP, p=0.001), and produced a steeper pressure-strain behavior by invitro inflation testing. In two experimental glaucoma experiments, GA-treated eyes had greater RGC axon loss from elevated IOP than either buffer-injected or control eyes, controlling for level of IOP exposure over time (. p=0.01, and 0.049, multivariable regression analyses). This is the first report that experimental alteration of the sclera, by cross-linking, increases susceptibility to RGC damage in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental eye research
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Collagen
  • Cross-linking
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Glaucoma
  • Glyceraldehyde
  • Mouse
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Sclera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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