Purpose To test the hypothesis that mild chronic hyperoxia treatment would improve retinal function despite a progressive decline in ocular blood flow in the DBA/2J mouse model of glaucoma. Materials and methods DBA/2J mice were treated with chronic mild hyperoxia (30% O2) beginning at 4.5 months of age or were untreated by giving normal room air. Retinal and choroidal blood flow (RBF and ChBF, respectively) were measured at 4, 6, and 9 months of age by MRI. Blood flow was additionally measured under hypercapnia challenge (5% CO2 inhalation) to assess vascular reactivity. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured using a rebound tonometer at the same time points. Scotopic flash electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded at 9 months of age. Results Both ChBF and RBF were reduced and significantly affected by age (p < 0.01), but neither were significantly affected by O2-treatment (p > 0.05). ChBF significantly increased in response to hypercapnia (p < 0.01), which was also unaffected by O2-treatment. Significant effects of age (p < 0.001) and of the interaction of age with treatment (p = 0.028) were found on IOP. IOP significantly decreased in O2-treated mice at 6 months compared to 4 months of age (p < 0.001), while IOP trended to increase with age in untreated mice. The amplitude of the b-wave from ERG was significantly increased in O2-treated DBA/2J compared to the untreated mice (p = 0.012), while the a-wave and oscillatory potentials were not significantly affected (p > 0.05). Conclusion This study investigated the effects of chronic mild hyperoxia on retinal function and on retinal and choroidal blood flow in a mouse model of glaucoma. Retinal function was improved in the O2-treated mice at late stage, despite a progressive decline of RBF and ChBF with age that was comparable to untreated mice.
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