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The Timecourses of Functional, Morphological, and Molecular Changes Triggered by Light Exposure in Sprague-Dawley Rat Retinas.

Cells (2021-07-03)
Serena Riccitelli, Mattia Di Paolo, James Ashley, Silvia Bisti, Stefano Di Marco
ABSTRACT

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.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-FGF-2/basic FGF (neutralizing) Antibody, clone bFM-1, clone bFM-1, Upstate®, from mouse
Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-Choline Acetyltransferase Antibody, Chemicon®, from goat
Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-Opsin Antibody, Red/Green, Chemicon®, from rabbit