Altered F-actin distribution in retinal nerve fiber layer of a rat model of glaucoma

Xiang Run Huang, Robert W. Knighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Glaucoma damages the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution in RNFL of axonal F-actin, a cytoskeletal component, under the development of glaucoma. Intraocular hypertension was induced in a rat model by translimbal laser photocoagulation of the trabecular meshwork. The retinas of control and treated eyes were obtained after different exposures to elevated IOP. Nerve fiber bundles were identified by fluorescent phalloidin staining of F-actin. Nuclei of cell bodies were identified by DAPI fluorescent counterstain. F-actin distribution in whole-mounted retinas was examined by confocal microscopy. En face and cross-sectional images of RNFL were collected around the optic nerve head (ONH). F-actin in normal RNFL was intensely and uniformly stained. In glaucomatous retina, F-actin staining was not uniform within bundles and total loss of F-actin staining was found in severely damaged areas. Altered F-actin often occurred near the ONH in bundles that appeared normal more peripherally. Both alteration and total loss of F-actin were found most often in dorsal retina. In normal RNFL, F-actin is rich and approximately uniformly distributed within nerve fiber bundles. Elevated IOP changes F-actin distribution in RNFL. Topographic features of F-actin alteration suggest that F-actin near the ONH is more sensitive to glaucomatous damage. The alteration pattern also suggests an ONH location for the glaucomatous insult in this rat model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1114
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009


  • animal model of glaucoma
  • confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • cytoskeleton
  • F-actin
  • phalloidin staining
  • retinal nerve fiber layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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