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Subspecialties Basic & Translational Research, Retina

The Night Watch

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.

Credit: The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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  1. H Leinonen et al., Elife [Epub ahead of print] (2020). PMID: 32960171.

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Aleksandra Jones

Editor of The Ophthalmologist

Having edited several technical publications over the last decade, I crossed paths with quite a few of Texere's current team members, and I only ever heard them sing the company's praises. When an opportunity arose to join Texere, I jumped at the chance! With a background in literature, I love the company's ethos of producing genuinely engaging content, and the fact that it is so well received by our readers makes it even more rewarding.


Phoebe Harkin

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I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

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