(searched for: doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01351-4)
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; doi:10.3390/ijms22136732
The death of photoreceptor cells is induced by continuous light exposure. However, it is unclear whether light damage was induced in retinal ganglion cells with photosensitivity by transduction of optogenetic genes. In this study, we evaluated the phototoxicities of continuous light exposure on retinal ganglion cells after transduction of the optogenetic gene mVChR1 using an adeno-associated virus vector. Rats were exposed to continuous light for a week, and visually evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded. The intensities of continuous light (500, 1000, 3000, and 5000 lx) increased substantially after VEP recordings. After the final recording of VEPs, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) were retrogradely labeled with a fluorescein tracer, FluoroGold, and the number of retinal ganglion cells was counted under a fluorescent microscope. There was no significant reduction in the amplitudes of VEPs and the number of RGCs after exposure to any light intensity. These results indicated that RGCs were photosensitive after the transduction of optogenetic genes and did not induce any phototoxicity by continuous light exposure.
Cells, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/cells10061561
Retinal neurodegeneration can impair visual perception at different levels, involving not only photoreceptors, which are the most metabolically active cells, but also the inner retina. Compensatory mechanisms may hide the first signs of these impairments and reduce the likelihood of receiving timely treatments. Therefore, it is essential to characterize the early critical steps in the neurodegenerative progression to design adequate therapies. This paper describes and correlates early morphological and biochemical changes in the degenerating retina with in vivo functional analysis of retinal activity and investigates the progression of neurodegenerative stages for up to 7 months. For these purposes, Sprague–Dawley rats were exposed to 1000 lux light either for different durations (12 h to 24 h) and examined seven days afterward (7d) or for a fixed duration (24 h) and monitored at various time points following the exposure (up to 210d). Flash electroretinogram (fERG) recordings were correlated with morphological and histological analyses to evaluate outer and inner retinal disruptions, gliosis, trophic factor release, and microglial activation. Twelve hours or fifteen hours of exposure to constant light led to a severe retinal dysfunction with only minor morphological changes. Therefore, early pathological signs might be hidden by compensatory mechanisms that silence retinal dysfunction, accounting for the discrepancy between photoreceptor loss and retinal functional output. The long-term analysis showed a transient functional recovery, maximum at 45 days, despite a progressive loss of photoreceptors and coincident increases in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (bFGF-2) expression. Interestingly, the progression of the disease presented different patterns in the dorsal and ventral retina. The information acquired gives us the potential to develop a specific diagnostic tool to monitor the disease’s progression and treatment efficacy.
The first successful clinical test of a technique called optogenetics has allowed a person to see for the first time in decades, with the help of image-enhancing goggles. The first successful clinical test of a technique called optogenetics has allowed a person to see for the first time in decades, with the help of image-enhancing goggles.