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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Sep 26;97(20):11020-5.

Modifications of retinal neurons in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa.

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Istituto di Neurofisiologia del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Area della Ricerca Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via San Cataldo 1, 56100 Pisa, Italy.


Animal models of retinitis pigmentosa include the rd mouse, in which a mutation of a rod-specific phosphodiesterase leads to the rapid loss of photoreceptors during the early postnatal life. Very little is known about changes occurring in inner retinal neurons after photoreceptor loss. These changes are important in view of the possibility of restoring vision in retinas with photoreceptor degeneration by means of cell transplantation or direct stimulation of inner layers. In this paper, we show that bipolar and horizontal cells of the rd mouse retina undergo dramatic morphological modifications accompanying photoreceptor loss, demonstrating a dependence of second order neurons on these cells. While describing modifications of the rd retina, we also provide quantitative information about neurons of the wild-type mouse retina, useful for future studies on genetically altered animals.

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