Measurement of optic nerve blood flow with iodoantipyrine: Limitations caused by diffusion from the choroid

Joseph Caprioli, Joseph M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Radioactively labelled iodoantipyrine has been used to measure optic nerve blood flow in experimental animals. The reliability of blood flow measurements with this technique may be limited by diffusion of tracer from the nearby choroid. The activity of tracer in the peripapillary choroid and anterior optic nerve was measured in a series of in vivo optic nerve blood flow experiments in cats. The diffusion of iodoantipyrine into cat optic nerve segments was also measured in vitro, and a model for diffusion of tracer from the peripapillary choroid into the anterior optic nerve was developed. The activity profiles established by simple diffusion experiments were similar to the activity profiles in the anterior optic nerve established by blood flow experiments. Apparent blood flow measurements in the anterior optic nerve made with iodoantipyrine may be largely influenced by tracer diffusion from the nearby choroid. For measurements of tracer activity which are statistically similar between control and experimental optic nerve samples, and with a total diffusion time of 60 sec (a well-done experiment), real blood flow in the experimental sample may differ by as much as 60% from the control at a point 50 μm from the choroid. At 300 μm from the choroid, the maximum undetectable difference because of diffusion declines to approx. 12%. These estimates assume an autoradiographic technique which can reliably detect tissue tracer activity differences of ± 10%. Measurements of optic nerve blood flow made with diffusible tracers are affected by diffusion from the choroid and should be reported with estimated limits of reliability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-652
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental eye research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988


  • blood flow
  • diffusion
  • glaucoma
  • iodoantipyrine
  • optic nerve
  • radioactive label

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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