Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Glaucoma

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world, is characterized by progressive degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the retinal nerve fiber layer, and the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), and because the increased IOP exerts a compressing force on the blood vessels in the eye, it has long been hypothesized that the RGC damage is caused by mild, but chronic, reduction of basal blood flow and/or blood-flow dysregulation. For many patients, by the time glaucoma is detected in examinations or patients notice vision loss, more than half of the RGCs have already degenerated. The eventual outcome is often blindness. Thus, non-invasive imaging technologies capable of detecting depth-resolved blood flow, oxygenation, and stimulus-evoked hemodynamic changes to evaluate blood flow reduction and dysregulation in the retina and the optic nerve head could enable objective early detection, longitudinal disease staging, and monitoring of therapeutic interventions. Although optically based imaging techniques provide high spatial resolution, they are depth limited which precludes quantitative resolution of retinal, choroidal, and optic nerve blood flow. Our laboratory pioneered the application of multimodal MRI to image high-resolution lamina-specific anatomy, blood flow, oxygenation, and function of the retina without depth limitation. Here we propose: i) to develop a multimodal MRI approach to markedly improve contrast and spatial resolution (35x35x300 ?m) without MRI susceptibility artifact by using a 3D balanced Steady State Free Precession (bSSFP) data acquisition scheme, and ii) to apply this approach in an established genetic (DBA/2J) mouse glaucoma model to determine whether MRI can detect glaucomatous changes in early stage and examine a plausible mechanism of glaucoma pathogenesis. We hypothesize that: 1) MRI can provide high resolution, depth-resolved, laminar- specific anatomical, blood flow, and functional images free of susceptibility artifacts; and 2) the pathogenesis of glaucoma is mediated by reduced blood flow and/or blood-flow dysregulation in the early stage, resulting in eventual loss of RGCs by ischemic hypoxia, and, if this is the cause, hyperoxia treatment should halt glaucomatous damage.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/19


  • National Eye Institute: $51,999.00
  • National Eye Institute: $293,020.00
  • National Eye Institute: $247,001.00
  • National Eye Institute: $293,020.00
  • National Eye Institute: $299,000.00


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