Effect of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and short wavelength light on in vivo retinal function and structure in mouse eyes

Wilson Heriot, Vickie H.Y. Wong, Zheng He, Anh Hoang, Jeremiah K.H. Lim, Tomoharu Nishimura, Da Zhao, Andrew B. Metha, Bang V. Bui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical relevance: The use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can lead to both acute and chronic changes to both retinal structure and function. Background: Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have the potential for retina toxicity. The acute impact of short-term drug exposure (2-4 weeks) on in vivo retinal structure and function and assess whether short wavelength light exposure further exacerbates any structural and functional changes was assessed in a murine model. Methods: Adult C57BL/6 J mice received intraperitoneal injection of vehicle or hydroxychloroquine (10 mg/kg) 3 times per week for 2 or 4 weeks, or chloroquine for 4 weeks (10 mg/kg). Over this period, animals were exposed to room light (8 hours) or short-wavelength light 4 hours per day (4 hours of normal room light) for 5 days each week. Retinal changes were assessed using electroretinography (ERG), in vivo optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. Results: Short-term low-dose HCQ and CQ treatment led to RPE thickening and elongation of photoreceptors. These structural changes were associated with a no dysfunction in the case of HCQ treatments and widespread functional changes (photoreceptor sensitivity, bipolar cell amplitude and oscillatory potential amplitude) in the case of CQ treatment. Exposure to low intensity short-wavelength light does not appear to alter the effect of HCQ or CQ. Conclusions: HCQ and CQ treatment has acute effects on both retinal structure and function, effects that were not exacerbated by short wavelength light exposure. Whether chronic short wavelength light exposure exacerbates these changes require further study.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Early online date28 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2022


  • Chloroquine
  • hydroxychloroquine
  • Plaquenil
  • retinal toxicity
  • short wavelength light
  • ultraviolet light


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