1Radiology, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States; 2UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, United States; 3Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States
Vision loss due to retinal degeneration is a major problem in ophthalmology. We developed blood flow (BF) MRI (44x44x600 μm3) using continuous arterial spin labeling at 11.7T to image layer-specific, quantitative retinal BF (RBF) and choroidal BF (ChBF) in the rat eye. This method was used to investigate BF changes in an animal model of progressive retinal degeneration, the Royal-College-of-Surgeons (RCS) rat. In this model, RBF and ChBF were affected differently by retinal degeneration. RBF was attenuated in RCS rats as the retina degenerated, while ChBF likely was not. BF MRI provides layer-specific quantitative BF data of the retina without depth limitation and with a large field-of-view, potentially opening up new avenues for retinal disease research in animal models.