The Night Watch
Understanding retinal adaptation in photoreceptor degenerative diseases could inspire future treatments
Aleksandra Jones, Phoebe Harkin | | Quick Read
The findings of a recent study of retinitis pigmentosa in mice could be useful in explaining why patients suffering from retinal disorders might be able to maintain their night vision. The possible mechanism? Homeostatic plasticity – when second-order neurons in the retina maintain their function even as rod photoreceptor degeneration continues.
Researchers from the University of California in Irvine and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA, used whole-retina RNA sequencing, electrophysiology, and behavioral experiments to show that degeneration of rod photoreceptors causes changes to the retina at the genome level. It also increases electrical signaling between rod receptors and rod bipolar cells. An improved understanding of homeostatic plasticity of the inner retina could inform future treatments.
Here, we speak to first author Henri Leinonen, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Palczewski Lab, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, Irvine, to find out more.
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- H Leinonen et al., Elife [Epub ahead of print] (2020). PMID: 32960171.