Creative Animodel offers extensive portfolio of both in vitro and in vivo services in pharmacology and toxicology. With rich-experienced scientists and state-of-art technique platforms, we can provide various cataract models to determine the effectiveness of anti-cataract therapies and a stronger scientific rationale for testing these therapies in human patients for our customers.
Overview of Cataract
There are an estimated 50 million blind people in the world, and cataracts (opacities of the lens in the eye) are responsible for half of these cases. The main risk factors associated with cataract are predominantly aging and diabetes, while others include nutrition (malnutrition and obesity), exposure to sunlight, genetics, gender, smoking and alcohol. Currently, the only way to treat cataracts is surgery. However, with an aging population, the demand of surgery and the need of cost-effective alternative solutions grows. It has been predicted that delaying the onset of cataract by ten years will halve its incidence. But developing anti-cataract strategies using human donor lenses is fraught with difficulties. Barriers to this include the limited availability of human donor lenses and intact cataractous lenses, the narrow age range (since lenses are typically from older donors), post-mortem delay between death and tissue processing and the inherent variability between donors (genetic variation, systemic disease, cause of death and exposure to environmental risk factors). While not ideal, this has led investigators to turn to animal models of lens cataract.
Figure 1. Comparison of normal eye and cataract eye
Our Cataract Models
Animal models have been used to either study the pathogenesis of cataract, or to test anti-cataract therapies with a long-term view to reduce the incidence of cataract in humans. With the state-of-the-art facilities and technologies, Creative Animodel can select the most appropriate models for our customers to determine the effectiveness of anti-cataract therapies and provide a stronger scientific rationale for testing these therapies in human patients.
Mice, rats, rabbits, pigs and non-human primates are used to establish cataract models at Creative Animodel. Our cataract models can be classified into three groups: inducible cataract models, hereditary models and knockout animal models.
• Induced cataract models
Lens cataract models are induced in rodents by the administration of a wide variety of chemical agents, exposing to UV radiation or the generation of nutritional deficiencies. There are similarities of lens cataracts and other features between these inducible animals and human patients with ARN cataracts.
• Hereditary cataract models
The Emory mouse is useful genetic animal model for age-related cataracts. Two sub-strains of Emory mice exist in which cataracts develop at 5-6 months (early cataract strain) and 6-8 months (late cataract strain). These cataracts increase in severity with age and initially appear in the lens superficial cortex before progressing into the deep anterior cortex and ultimately to complete lens opacification.
• Knockout cataract models
Our knockout cataract models include glutaredoxin 2 (Grx2) knockout mouse and lens glutathione (GSH) synthesis knockout (LEGSKO) mice. Grx2 KO mouse is a good model to study human ARN cataract due to loss of GSH, increased protein-bound GSH (PSSG) accumulation and chaperone protein function. And the LEGSKO mouse can be used for the development of pharmacological anti-cataract agents that could restore the antioxidant reserve of the lens or block the effects of oxidative stress resulting from GSH deficiency.
Creative Animodel offers end-to-end validated pre-clinical models and related services of pharmacology and toxicology. We support the global clients in models establishment, imaging modalities, behavioral tests as well as biomarker endpoint assays to help identify novel therapies for cataract. Please feel free to contact us for more information.
1. Lim J C.; et al. Tools to fight the cataract epidemic: A review of experimental animal models that mimic age related nuclear cataract. Experimental Eye Research, 2015, 145:432.