Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PURPOSE: Animal models are powerful tools to broaden our understanding of disease mechanisms and to develop future treatment strategies. Here we present detailed structural and functional findings of a rhesus macaque suffering from a naturally occurring bilateral macular dystrophy (BMD), partial optic atrophy and corresponding reduction of central V1 signals in visual fMRI experiments when compared to data in a healthy macaque (CTRL) of similar age. METHODS: Retinal imaging included infrared and autofluorescence recordings, fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) on the Spectralis HRA + OCT platform. Electroretinography included multifocal and Ganzfeld-ERG recordings. Animals were killed and eyes analyzed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Angiography showed reduced macular vascularization with significantly larger foveal avascular zones (FAZ) in the affected animal (FAZBMD = 8.85 mm(2) vs. FAZCTRL = 0.32 mm(2)). OCT showed bilateral thinning of the macula within the FAZ (total retinal thickness, TRTBMD = 174 ± 9 µm) and partial optic nerve atrophy when compared to control (TRTCTRL = 303 ± 45 µm). Segmentation analysis revealed that inner retinal layers were primarily affected (inner retinal thickness, IRTBMD = 33 ± 9 µm vs. IRTCTRL = 143 ± 45 µm), while the outer retina essentially maintained its thickness (ORTBMD = 141 ± 7 µm vs. ORTCTRL = 160 ± 11 µm). Altered macular morphology corresponded to a preferential reduction of central signals in the multifocal electroretinography and to a specific attenuation of cone-derived responses in the Ganzfeld electroretinography, while rod function remained normal. CONCLUSION: We provided detailed characterization of a primate macular disorder. This study aims to stimulate awareness and further investigation in primates with macular disorders eventually leading to the identification of a primate animal model and facilitating the preclinical development of therapeutic strategies.

Original publication




Journal article


Doc Ophthalmol

Publication Date





179 - 194


Electroretinography, Functional MRI, Macular disorder, Neurodegeneration, Optical coherence tomography, Animals, Electroretinography, Female, Fluorescein Angiography, Macaca mulatta, Macular Degeneration, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Monkey Diseases, Optic Atrophy, Retina, Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells, Tomography, Optical Coherence, Vision Disorders, Visual Acuity, Visual Fields