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A fully organic retinal prosthesis restores vision in a rat model of degenerative blindness

By José Fernando Maya-Vetencourt, Diego Ghezzi, Maria Rosa Antognazza, Elisabetta Colombo, Maurizio Mete, Paul Feyen, Andrea Desii, Ambra Buschiazzo, Mattia Di Paolo, Stefano Di Marco, Flavia Ticconi, Laura Emionite, Dmytro Shmal, Cecilia Marini, Ilaria Donelli, Giuliano Freddi, Rita Maccarone, Silvia Bisti, Gianmario Sambuceti, Grazia Pertile, Guglielmo Lanzani and Fabio Benfenati

Abstract

The degeneration of photoreceptors in the retina is one of the major causes of adult blindness in humans. Unfortunately, no effective clinical treatments exist for the majority of retinal degenerative disorders. Here we report on the fabrication and functional validation of a fully organic prosthesis for long-term in vivo subretinal implantation in the eye of Royal College of Surgeons rats, a widely recognized model of retinitis pigmentosa. Electrophysiological and behavioural analyses reveal a prosthesis-dependent recovery of light sensitivity and visual acuity that persists up to 6–10 months after surgery. The rescue of the visual function is accompanied by an increase in the basal metabolic activity of the primary visual cortex, as demonstrated by positron emission tomography imaging. Our results highlight the possibility of developing a new generation of fully organic, highly biocompatible and functionally autonomous photovoltaic prostheses for subretinal implants to treat degenerative blindness

Publisher: 'Springer Science and Business Media LLC'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1038/nmat4874
OAI identifier: oai:infoscience.tind.io:226264
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