Vaso-obliteration in the canine model of oxygen-induced retinopathy

D. Scott McLeod, Rachel Brownstein, Gerard A. Lutty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Purpose: To quantify the acute constrictive response of developing retinal blood vessels to hyperoxia and to examine the vaso-obliterative phase of sustained oxygen breathing in the neonatal dog model of retinopathy of prematurity. Methods. Seven littermates were used to examine the acute constrictive response of the developing retinal vessels to hyperoxia (30 minutes to 96 hours of 100% oxygen). ADPase retinal flat-mounts were prepared, and morphometric measurements were made using computer-assisted analysis. Vaso-obliteration also was examined in three animals killed after prolonged exposure to hyperoxia (4 days of 100% oxygen) and in three room air controls using ADPase flat-embedded retinas and cross-sections. Choroids were processed for alkaline phosphatase flat-embedding. Results. After 1 hour of oxygen breathing, all vascular components showed a reduction in diameter: Arteries were reduced 27%, veins 18.3%, and capillaries 27.7%. Capillary constriction peaked by 24 hours (69.4% reduction), whereas arteries and veins continued to close. Although capillary diameters did not decrease significantly after 24 hours, the number of capillaries, as determined by percent vascular area calculations, continued to decrease in all areas through the additional 3 days of oxygen breathing. In contrast, after 4 days of hyperoxia the choriocapillaris lumenal diameters and percent vascular area did not vary significantly from controls. Analysis of sections taken through various retinal regions of these animals revealed significant decreases (40%) in the volume of the extracellular spaces available for blood vessel formation. Hyperoxia also resulted in a 55.6% decrease in the total number of cells (endothelial cells, ablumenal cells, perivascular cells) within the inner retina; however, there was no significant difference in ganglion cell counts in the two groups. Conclusions. This study demonstrates that the pattern and severity of the reaction of developing retinal vessels to hyperoxia in the newborn dog is similar to that described for the kitten and the premature human. This response is unlike that exhibited by the newborn rat or mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996


  • choriocapillaris
  • retinal development
  • retinal vasculature
  • retinopathy of prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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