Where You Cut Matters: A Dissection and Analysis Guide for the Spatial Orientation of the Mouse Retina from Ocular Landmarks

This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Accurately and reliably identifying spatial orientation of the isolated mouse retina is important for many studies in visual neuroscience, including the analysis of density and size gradients of retinal cell types, the direction tuning of direction-selective ganglion cells, and the examination of topographic degeneration patterns in some retinal diseases. However, there are many different ocular dissection methods reported in the literature that are used to identify and label retinal orientation in the mouse retina. While the method of orientation used in such studies is often overlooked, not reporting how retinal orientation is determined can cause discrepancies in the literature and confusion when attempting to compare data between studies. Superficial ocular landmarks such as corneal burns are commonly used but have recently been shown to be less reliable than deeper landmarks such as the rectus muscles, the choroid fissure, or the s-opsin gradient. Here, we provide a comprehensive guide for the use of deep ocular landmarks to accurately dissect and document the spatial orientation of an isolated mouse retina. We have also compared the effectiveness of two s-opsin antibodies and included a protocol for s-opsin immunohistochemistry. Because orientation of the retina according to the s-opsin gradient requires retinal reconstruction with Retistruct software and rotation with custom code, we have presented the important steps required to use both of these programs. Overall, the goal of this protocol is to deliver a reliable and repeatable set of methods for accurate retinal orientation that is adaptable to most experimental protocols. An overarching goal of this work is to standardize retinal orientation methods for future studies.