54 research outputs found

    Involvement of Autophagic Pathway in the Progression of Retinal Degeneration in a Mouse Model of Diabetes

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    The notion that diabetic retinopathy (DR) is essentially a micro-vascular disease has been recently challenged by studies reporting that vascular changes are preceded by signs of damage and loss of retinal neurons. As to the mode by which neuronal death occurs, the evidence that apoptosis is the main cause of neuronal loss is far from compelling. The objective of this study was to investigate these controversies in a mouse model of streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetes. Starting from 8 weeks after diabetes induction there was loss of rod but not of cone photoreceptors, together with reduced thickness of the outer and inner synaptic layers. Correspondingly, rhodopsin expression was downregulated and the scotopic electroretinogram (ERG) is suppressed. In contrast, cone opsin expression and photopic ERG response were not affected. Suppression of the scotopic ERG preceded morphological changes as well as any detectable sign of vascular alteration. Only sparse apoptotic figures were detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and glia was not activated. The physiological autophagy flow was altered instead, as seen by increased LC3 immunostaining at the level of outer plexiform layer (OPL) and upregulation of the autophagic proteins Beclin-1 and Atg5. Collectively, our results show that the streptozotocin induced DR in mouse initiates with a functional loss of the rod visual pathway. The pathogenic pathways leading to cell death develop with the initial dysregulation of autophagy well before the appearance of signs of vascular damage and without strong involvement of apoptosis

    Localization of Melatonin Receptor 1 in Mouse Retina and Its Role in the Circadian Regulation of the Electroretinogram and Dopamine Levels

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    Melatonin modulates many important functions within the eye by interacting with a family of G-protein-coupled receptors that are negatively coupled with adenylate cyclase. In the mouse, Melatonin Receptors type 1 (MT1) mRNAs have been localized to photoreceptors, inner retinal neurons, and ganglion cells, thus suggesting that MT1 receptors may play an important role in retinal physiology. Indeed, we have recently reported that absence of the MT1 receptors has a dramatic effect on the regulation of the daily rhythm in visual processing, and on retinal cell viability during aging. We have also shown that removal of MT1 receptors leads to a small (3–4 mmHg) increase in the level of the intraocular pressure during the night and to a significant loss (25–30%) in the number of cells within the retinal ganglion cell layer during aging. In the present study we investigated the cellular distribution in the C3H/f+/+ mouse retina of MT1 receptors using a newly developed MT1 receptor antibody, and then we determined the role that MT1 signaling plays in the circadian regulation of the mouse electroretinogram, and in the retinal dopaminergic system. Our data indicate that MT1 receptor immunoreactivity is present in many retinal cell types, and in particular, on rod and cone photoreceptors and on intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells (ipRGCs). MT1 signaling is necessary for the circadian rhythm in the photopic ERG, but not for the circadian rhythm in the retinal dopaminergic system. Finally our data suggest that the circadian regulation of dopamine turnover does not drive the photopic ERG rhythm

    Age-Related Changes in the Daily Rhythm of Photoreceptor Functioning and Circuitry in a Melatonin-Proficient Mouse Strain

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    Retinal melatonin is involved in the modulation of many important retinal functions. Our previous studies have shown that the viability of photoreceptors and ganglion cells is reduced during aging in mice that lack melatonin receptor type 1. This demonstrates that melatonin signaling is important for the survival of retinal neurons. In the present study, we investigate the effects of aging on photoreceptor physiology and retinal organization in CH3-f+/+ mice, a melatonin proficient mouse strain. Our data indicate that the amplitude of the a and b waves of the scotopic and photopic electroretinogram decreases with age. Moreover, the daily rhythm in the amplitude of the a- and b- waves is lost during the aging process. Similarly, the scotopic threshold response is significantly affected by aging, but only when it is measured during the night. Interestingly, the changes observed in the ERGs are not paralleled by relevant changes in retinal morphological features, and administration of exogenous melatonin does not affect the ERGs in C3H-f+/+ at 12 months of age. This suggests that the responsiveness of the photoreceptors to exogenous melatonin is reduced during aging

    Retinal Plasticity

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    Brain plasticity is a well-established concept designating the ability of central nervous system (CNS) neurons to rearrange as a result of learning, when adapting to changeable environmental conditions or else while reacting to injurious factors. As a part of the CNS, the retina has been repeatedly probed for its possible ability to respond plastically to a variably altered environment or to pathological insults. However, numerous studies support the conclusion that the retina, outside the developmental stage, is endowed with only limited plasticity, exhibiting, instead, a remarkable ability to maintain a stable architectural and functional organization. Reviewed here are representative examples of hippocampal and cortical paradigms of plasticity and of retinal structural rearrangements found in organization and circuitry following altered developmental conditions or occurrence of genetic diseases leading to neuronal degeneration. The variable rate of plastic changes found in mammalian retinal neurons in different circumstances is discussed, focusing on structural plasticity. The likely adaptive value of maintaining a low level of plasticity in an organ subserving a sensory modality that is dominant for the human species and that requires elevated fidelity is discussed

    AII amacrine cells in the primate fovea contribute to photopic vision

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    Abstract The AII amacrine cell is known as a key interneuron in the scotopic (night-vision) pathway in the retina. Under scotopic conditions, rod signals are transmitted via rod bipolar cells to AII amacrine cells, which split the rod signal into the OFF (via glycinergic synapses) and the ON pathway (via gap junctions). But the AII amacrine cell also has a “day job”: at high light levels when cones are active, AII connections with ON cone bipolar cells provide crossover inhibition to extend the response range of OFF cone bipolar cells. The question whether AII cells contribute to crossover inhibition in primate fovea (where rods and rod bipolar cells are rare or absent) has not been answered. Here, immunohistochemistry and three-dimensional reconstruction show that calretinin positive cells in the fovea of macaque monkeys and humans have AII morphology and connect to cone bipolar cells. The pattern of AII connections to cone bipolar cells is quantitatively similar to that of AII cells outside the fovea. Our results support the view that in mammalian retina AII cells first evolved to serve cone circuits, then later were co-opted to process scotopic signals subsequent to the evolution of rod bipolar cells