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Category: Neuroprotection
Animals used for research:   Mouse, Rat  

Optic nerve crush represents a popular method to induce acute mechanical damage of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons and, consequently, rapid loss of RGCs.1,2


Animal species

Rats, mice

Method of induction

Mechanical optic nerve crush

Follow-up period

Typically 1-2 weeks

Route of compound administration

Topical (e.g. eye drops), intravitreal injections, systemic (i.v., i.p.), subcutaneous

  1. In vivo imaging (optical coherence tomography)
  2. In vivo functional assessment: 
    • electroretinography (local)
    • visual evoked potentials (all visual pathway) 
  3. Slit-lamp/ophthalmoscopic examination
  4. Morphological assessment:
    • optic nerve axon counts (semi-thin optic nerve sections)
    • routine histology (H&E staining for retinal sections)
    • immunohistochemistry (typically RGC marker/glial marker and counterstain in retinal wholemounts),
    • stereology of RGCs (retinal wholemounts) and optic nerve axons
  5. Molecular biology (ELISA, Western blotting, qPCR)
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Experimentica Ltd. uses state-of-the-art in vivo imaging methodologies, which allow the longitudinal evaluation of pathological changes

Thinning of retinal layers in the 7-day mouse optic nerve crush model as observed using SD-OCT. Retina from contralateral control eye (left) and retina from optic nerve crushed eye (right).

A representative example of mouse ERG response 30 days after optic nerve crush. A) First positive peak (´B-wave´) amplitude is remarkably decreased in optic nerve-crushed eye (in red) compared to control eye (black) in pattern ERG. B) ERG response for diffuse light flash (monitor full-field flicker) is comparable between optic nerve-crushed and control eyes.

Representative examples of retinal wholemounts immunostained against retinal ganglion cell markers (RGCs) and retinal astrocytes.


  • Kalesnykas G, Oglesby EN, Zack DJ, Cone FE, Steinhart MR, Tian J, Pease ME, Quigley HA. Retinal ganglion cell morphology after optic nerve crush and experimental glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci  2012; 53: 3847-3857. 


  • Maciulaitiene R, Pakuliene G, Kaja S, Pauza DH, Kalesnykas G, Januleviciene I. Glioprotection of retinal astrocytes after intravitreal administration of memantine in the mouse optic nerve crush model. Med Science Monitor. 2017; 23:1173-1179.


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