Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of vision loss and effects over 90% of individuals with Diabetes Mellitus. Male Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats develop Type II-like diabetes. Previous experience at EyeCRO with the ZDF rat model has shown that hyperglycemia is obtained ~3 weeks following the initiation of the high fat diet, and retinal vascular defects manifest within a few weeks of hyperglycemia. Further, we have shown these rats undergo progressive vision loss that mimics the human disease.
In this rodent model of DR, longitudinal retinal vascular pathology is monitored by fluorescein angiography (FA) to measure localized vascular leakage, optical coherence tomography (OCT) to measure retinal tissue defects, and fluorophotometry to measure global retinal vascular leakage. Visual and retinal dysfunction is monitored by optokinetic tracking (OKT) and electroretinography (ERG), respectively. Cataract formation is also coincident with DR and can also be monitored using non-invasive imaging.