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Exp Eye Res. 2001 Sep;73(3):333-43.

Immunohistochemical studies of the retina following long-term implantation with subretinal microphotodiode arrays.

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Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL, USA.


This study evaluates the feline retina following surgical placement of a semiconductor-based microphotodiode array (MPA) into the subretinal space. Post-operative evaluations of implant durability and clinical biocompatibility have been carried out in these animals. Here, we examine the integrity of the implanted retina using anatomical techniques and immunocytochemical metabolic indicators. After appropriate fixation, the retina was divided into strips to compare areas directly over the implant versus those adjacent to the implant or in the opposite, unimplanted eye. In addition to histological analyses, the distribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), Na, K-ATPase, and the neurotransmitters (glutamate, glycine, and GABA) was examined using immunohistochemistry. Directly above the implant there was a near-complete loss of photoreceptor outer and inner segments and the outer nuclear layer. In comparison, the retina immediately adjacent to the implant appeared normal. In the inner nuclear layer overlying the implant, some cellular disorganization was present, however, the content was not significantly reduced. Also GFAP was up-regulated in the Müller cells directly overlying the MPA, but the retina adjacent to the implant showed a normal distribution of GFAP in the astrocytes located in the ganglion cell layer. The distributions of Na, K-ATPase adjacent to and overlying the implant were not different. Glutamate showed a decrease in overall labeling, but no change in the inner retinal layers. Glycine was found to be up-regulated in the inner nuclear layer immediately overlying the implant, while GABA showed decreased labeling over the MPA. Since photoreceptors overlying the implant degenerate, we compared the changes observed in the implanted retina to those in the Abyssinian cat model of photoreceptor degeneration. Generally, the retinal changes observed over the implant were similar to those seen in the Abyssinian cat, indicating that they may be associated with photoreceptor degeneration. Future studies will concentrate on MPAs designed to improve circulation to the outer retina which may decrease cell loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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