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Laboratory Science |

Retinal Vessel Changes in Galactose-Fed Dogs

Tatsuji Kobayashi, MD; Eri Kubo, MD; Yukio Takahashi, MD, PhD; Toshiharu Kasahara, PhD; Hidetoshi Yonezawa, PhD; Yoshio Akagi, MD, PhD
Arch Ophthalmol. 1998;116(6):785-789. doi:10.1001/archopht.116.6.785.
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Background  Retinal lesions similar to those in human early-stage diabetic retinopathy have been reported to occur in dogs fed galactose for long periods. Investigations of retinal changes, however, have been limited to studies of the intact retinal vasculature isolated by trypsin digestion.

Objective  To document the onset and progression of retinal lesions in galactose-fed dogs by the common clinical techniques of fundus color photography and fluorescein angiography.

Methods  Fourteen 6-month-old male beagles made aphakic in 1 eye were divided into a control group (4 dogs), receiving a diet containing 30% cellulose, and a galactosemic group (10 dogs), receiving a diet containing 30% galactose. The progression of retinal changes in these dogs was periodically monitored by color fundus photography and fluorescein angiography.

Results  Dogs fed a 30% galactose diet for 28 to 41 months were observed by fluorescein angiography and color fundus photography to develop, in order of frequency, microaneurysms, retinal hemorrhages, intraretinal microvascular abnormalities, retinal nonperfused areas, and varicose and serpiginous veins. These findings are similar to the early clinical retinal changes observed in humans with diabetes.

Conclusion  These results confirm that galactosemic dogs are an appropriate and suitable animal model for investigating human diabetic retinopathy.

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Figure 1.

Progression of retinal lesions in the fluorescein angiogram of a dog retina (dog 208) from the galactose-fed group. A, Spotted hyperfluorescence with late leakage (which should be called putative microaneurysm) first could be detected at 28 months of feeding. B, Fluorescein leakage at this area disappeared (arrows) at 30 months. Perfusion of dye in this area progressively decreased. C, Multiple occurrences of punctate and spotted leakage of fluorescence at the area surrounding the previously developed small nonperfusion area could be seen at 31 months.

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Figure 2.

A, The areas revealing multiple punctate fluorescein leakage and increased capillary permeability at 31 months formed a larger nonperfusion area (asterisk) at 33 months. B, Fluorescein angiogram at 35 months of feeding. Blockage of background fluorescence that suggested the occluded area was seen in some areas (asterisk). Several capillary closures with the obstruction of arterioles could be observed (arrow). C, Obstruction of the main retinal vessels, sausagelike dilation, and serpiginous veins (arrow) at 39 months of galactose feeding.

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Figure 3.

Color fundus photograph of the dog retina from the galactose-fed group after 35 months of feeding. Spotted retinal hemorrhages can be seen.

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Figure 4.

Panorama fluorescein angiograms obtained after 41 months of galactose feeding. Numbers in these fluorescein angiograms correspond to individual dog numbers. The retina of one dog showed only a few leakage spots at the nasal upper retinal side, while the other dog had no abnormal retinal findings.

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