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This article is the author’s final published version in Translational Vision Science and Technology, Volume 10, Issue 1, January 2021, Article number 8, Pages 1-13

The published version is available at Copyright © Khan et al.


Purpose: Traumatic optic neuropathy (TON) is often caused by blunt head trauma and has no currently effective treatment. Common animal models of TON induced by surgical crush injury are plagued by variability and do not mimic typical mechanisms of TON injury. Traumatic head impact models have recently shown evidence of TON, but the degree of head impact necessary to consistently induce TON is not well characterized, and it is examined here.

Methods: Traumatic skull impacts to C57BL/6J mice were induced using an electromagnetic controlled impact device. One impact performed at two depths (mild and severe), as well as three and five repetitive impacts with an interconcussion interval of 48 hours, were tested. Optokinetic responses (OKRs) and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss were measured.

Results: Five repetitive mild impacts significantly decreased OKR scores and RGC numbers compared with control mice 10 weeks after initial impact, with maximal pathology observed by 6 weeks and partial but significant loss present by 3 weeks. One severe impact induced similar TON. Three mild impacts also induced early OKR and RGC loss, but one mild impact did not. Equivalent degrees of TON were induced bilaterally, and a significant correlation was observed between OKR scores and RGC numbers.

Conclusions: Repetitive, mild closed head trauma in mice induces progressive RGC and vision loss that worsens with increasing impacts.

Translational Relevance: Results detail a reproducible model of TON that provides a reliable platform for studying potential treatments over a 3- to 6-week time course.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.