Isolation of Retinal Arterioles for Ex Vivo Cell Physiology Studies

Tim M. Curtis, Declan McLaughlin, Michael O'Hare, Joanna Kur, Peter Barabas, Gordon Revolta, C. Norman Scholfield, Graham McGeown, Mary K. McGahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


The retina is a highly metabolically active tissue that requires a substantial blood supply. The retinal circulation supports the inner retina, while the choroidal vessels supply the photoreceptors. Alterations in retinal perfusion contribute to numerous sight-threatening disorders, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and retinal branch vein occlusions. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the control of blood flow through the retina and how these are altered during ocular disease could lead to the identification of new targets for the treatment of these conditions. Retinal arterioles are the main resistance vessels of the retina, and consequently, play a key role in regulating retinal hemodynamics through changes in luminal diameter. In recent years, we have developed methods for isolating arterioles from the rat retina which are suitable for a wide range of applications including cell physiology studies. This preparation has already begun to yield new insights into how blood flow is controlled in the retina and has allowed us to identify some of the key changes that occur during ocular disease. In this article, we describe methods for the isolation of rat retinal arterioles and include protocols for their use in patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging and pressure myography studies. These vessels are also amenable for use in PCR-, western blotting- and immunohistochemistry-based studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57944
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2018


  • Retinal arteriole isolation
  • myogenic tone
  • myography
  • patch-clamp
  • arteriolar smooth muscle
  • blood flow autoregulation
  • Calcium imaging


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