Purdue University Graduate School
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Examining Postnatal Retinal Thickness and Retinal Ganglion Cell Count in the Ts65Dn Mouse Model of Down Syndrome

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posted on 2023-05-18, 13:04 authored by Andrew David FolzAndrew David Folz

Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic condition caused by the triplication of human chromosome  21 and presents with many phenotypes including decreased brain size, hypocellularity in the brain,  and assorted ocular phenotypes. Some of the ocular phenotypes seen are increased risk of cataracts,  accommodation difficulties, increased risk of refractive errors, and increased retinal thickness. The  Ts65Dn mouse model of DS is a classically used mouse model as it presents a number of  phenotypes also seen in those with DS. Some of these phenotypes include decreased brain volume,  abnormal synaptic plasticity, and ocular phenotypes. These ocular phenotypes include decreased  visual acuity, cataracts, and increased retinal thickness. The Ts65Dn mouse model is trisomic for Dyrk1a, a gene of interest in DS research. We hypothesize that there will be a genotypic and sex effect of retinal thickness and retinal ganglion cell (RGC) count at postnatal day 15 in the Ts65Dn  mouse model of DS. Retinal slices were taken from male and female trisomic and euploid Ts65Dn  mice at P15 and fluorescently labeled for RGCs and bipolar cells via immunohistochemistry. The  retinas were measured for total retinal thickness and RNA-binding protein (RBPMS) positive cells in the RGC layer were counted. There was no genotypic or sex effect when comparing retinal  thickness in trisomic mice as compared to euploid mice. There was a genotypic effect of RBPMS  positive cell count in which the trisomic mice had a higher number of RBPMS positive cells than  euploid mice. Increased retinal thickness along with increased RGC number have both been  implicated with decreased apoptosis in the retina. In the Ts65Dn mouse model along with in  individuals with DS, this could be due to an increase in DYRK1A protein levels reducing apoptosis.  In future studies, determining DYRK1A’s influence in retinal thickness and RGC number could  result in a treatment for overactive DYRK1A that could normalize retinal thickness and RGC  number in those with DS.


NIH 1RO1 AR078663


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Biological Sciences

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Randall Roper

Additional Committee Member 2

Charles Goodlett

Additional Committee Member 3

Teri Belecky-Adams

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