Layer-specific blood-flow MRI of retinitis pigmentosa in RCS rats

Guang Li, Bryan De La Garza, Yen Yu I. Shih, Eric R. Muir, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat is an established animal model of retinitis pigmentosa, a family of inherited retinal diseases which starts with loss of peripheral vision and progresses to eventual blindness. Blood flow (BF), an important physiological parameter, is intricately coupled to metabolic function under normal physiological conditions and is perturbed in many neurological and retinal diseases. This study reports non-invasive high-resolution MRI (44 × 44 × 600 μm) to image quantitative retinal and choroidal BF and layer-specific retinal thicknesses in RCS rat retinas at different stages of retinal degeneration compared with age-matched controls. The unique ability to separate retinal and choroidal BF was made possible by the depth-resolved MRI technique. RBF decreased with progressive retinal degeneration, but ChBF did not change in RCS rats up to post-natal day 90. We concluded that choroidal and retinal circulations have different susceptibility to progressive retinal degeneration in RCS rats. Layer-specific retinal thickness became progressively thinner and was corroborated by histological analysis in the same animals. MRI can detect progressive anatomical and BF changes during retinal degeneration with laminar resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial spin labeling
  • Blood flow
  • Choroid
  • Retina
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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