Ocular Disease Models

Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP) increase induces retina and ophthalmic nerve damage that cannot be restored by current therapies. Thus tests of new therapeutic approaches on experimental models with repeatable IOP increase are still required.
IOP in experimental models of glaucoma offers the chance to test the efficacy of new compounds in a controlled and reliable system. Thanks to the advanced equipment and knowledgeable staff, AF can offer highly controlled models of experimental Glaucoma in rats and mice. The retinal damage is evaluated and quantified using standard parameters such as the histological evaluation of the Retinal Ganglion Cells (RGCs), loss or modulation of specific markers of cellular survival or cell death.

Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION)
AF offers a fully assessed rat model of NAION obtained by laser-mediated activation of an intravascular dye, with subsequent endothelial stress and vessel damage. The lesion induced on the anterior optic nerve is indistinguishable from those observed in the clinic, making this model an irreplaceable tool for efficacy evaluation of new drug candidates. The standard histological evaluation used to define and quantify the severity of the neuropathy is flanked by the measurement of the blood flow at the level of the optic nerve through the use of a Photo-acoustic Laser Doppler imaging system (VEVO 2100, Visualsonics). As for all models provided by the MIR, efficacy studies can be tailored to match specific requirements.


Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common cause of retinal degeneration. Visual impairment is primarily due to loss of photoreceptors, which leads to subsequent damage of the retinal pigment epithelium and other layers of the retina. Changes in retinal vasculature are prominent clinical features, with attenuation of retinal vessels in early stages and fibrotic degeneration in later stages of the disease. AF offered a specific animal model for this disease represented by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS/Kyo) rats with inherited retinal degeneration. The genetic defect in the mertk gene causes the inability of the rethinal epithelium cells to phagocytose shed photoreceptor outer segment.


Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, KCS)
Dry eye syndrome is a common tears and ocular surface multifactorial disease, described by changes in the ocular surface epithelia related to reduced tears quantity and ocular surface sensitivity, leading to inflammatory reaction. Managing the eye inflammation proved helpful to patients with dry eye disease and current treatment is based on the use of topically applied artificial tear products/lubricants, tear retention management, stimulation of tear secretion and using anti-inflammatory drugs.