Ex Vivo Models/Isolated Ocular Tissues

Our isolation of ocular tissues from a variety of animal models provides us with yet another method of evaluating the activity and mechanisms of actions of experimental compounds. It allows us to perform drug screening experiments within a controlled environment to better understand the integrative nature of cell behaviors within the complex architecture of intact tissues.


Retinal explants can be maintained ex vivo under controlled experimental conditions. These explants can then be tested under disease-relevant conditions (e.g., hypoxia, inflammatory stimulation, growth factor stimulation, etc.) and transcriptome, proteome, secretome, etc. can be assayed.


The choroid can be dissected from other ocular tissues and maintained under culture conditions. Assays like those described above for retina can be employed.

Ex Vivo Readouts


Angiogenesis refers to the formation of new blood vessels from existing vasculature. Angiogenesis can be produced in explants using soluble angiogenic growth factors. This activity can be measured in explants of both retinal and choroidal tissue.

Inflammatory mediator expression/secretion

Inflammation underlies the pathogenesis of many ocular and retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and retinitis pigmentosa. Thus, the expression and secretion of inflammatory mediators in tissue explants is an essential readout for testing therapies designed to test inflammatory eye diseases.

Neuroprotection/neuronal apoptosis

In diseases characterized by loss of retinal neurons, such as retinitis pigmentosa, neuroprotective agents that increase survival of neurons can slow or stop vision loss progression. The activities of such neuroprotective agents can be evaluated using retinal explants.


Apoptosis of either neuronal and non-neuronal retinal cells is a fundamental component of various blinding diseases. Retinal explants can be used as a valuable experimental context for determining the efficacy of anti-apoptotic agents.

Are you ready to get started? Our team can walk you through our different ex vivo models and readouts.